This is a guest blog entry by Mera Szendro Bok, Matthew Schroyer, and Abby Martin from Communication is Your Right!.
Communication is Your Right! recently interviewed Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, who said that freedom of expression is central to the fight for human rights. “People need to understand that communication is a right, and it’s a right that is not being fulfilled at all,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, because if people can’t express themselves, they can’t protest any issues that are going on.”
Communication is Your Right! is a platform for media makers, human rights advocates, and citizens around the globe to speak their truths. What is the state of communications in your community and country? Share your ability to communicate where you are by creating a video, blog or podcast and add it to our campaign.
“When people are trying to use power in the wrong way the first people they go after are journalists,” Cox said. More than 267 cases of journalists being threatened, arrested, killed, or disappeared are tracked on Global Voices Project Threatened Voices, which states “Never before have so many bloggers been imprisoned.” These numbers are unacceptable- not only because being able to communicate is vital to changing our lives and community- but because it is a human right.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human right to communicate, makes threatening and silencing citizens for communicating their thoughts a human rights violation. Article 19 reads, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
On the front page of our site is a petition demanding that the United Nations take the Human Right to Communicate seriously. “With the profound changes happening in the way people connect and share information, now more than ever it’s important to protect that right to connect and share,” explains Matthew Schroyer, a journalist (www.mentalmunition.com) and Communications is Your Right! organizer. “If you can’t protect that right, then you can’t protect a democracy.”
The Communication is Your Right! petition also states that the consolidation of media companies is damaging to universal communication and without stronger UN support global communication rights none of their Millennium Goals will be achieved.
We urge people to exercise their right to communicate with a blog, podcast or video and submit your work to this campaign. We would like citizens around the world to reflect on why they haven’t been heard by their larger community. Does corporate media allow you a platform? How is government control and media policy stifling free speech in your community? These questions need reflection and we must act together to create solutions.
We are building a decentralized campaign of media makers, media reformers and human rights advocates that are working together to network with organizations, speak with our communities, and create media about Article 19. “We need a communication revolution in order to have a human rights revolution,” says Abby Martin, founder of www.MediaRoots.org and Communications is Your Right! organizer.
To join our mission to advocate for people around the world to openly and fully communicate, visit our “Organizing Together” page to learn how to become an organizer and share this campaign’s message.