AMARC and Rio+20 Summit: the right to communicate is a necessary condition for sustainable development

We, community radio representatives, wish to highlight that 20 years after the international meeting during which the post-industrial model was challenged for the first time, are facing new conflicts that must be resolved by the fulfilment of the right to communicate and the pursuit of the common good.

Global financial powers are affected by the crisis caused by capital markets and its effects continue to be felt on entire societies caught in dynamics of impoverishment, directly related to the implementation of policies based in the excessive role played by the financial market in the definition of economic development.

Freedom of expression is limited by the dominant economicist paradigms. Telecommunications have become one of the strategic sectors of speculative activity without limits for transnational investment and vertical integration, affecting the media systems, through concentration in a few hands leading to major setbacks to the democratic debate at the global level, and questioning the notion of common good.

During the Rio+20 Summit, communicators, social movements and civil society call for an in-depth review of transnational powers setting the rules of the game that led to the disarray of neo-liberal globalization, the exhaustion of the representative democracies, whose forms of governability do not protect the vast majority in front of the excessive power of a few factions that control the world order.

The paradigm of considering information as a commodity and not a peoples’ right, the search for immediate profit, the defence of the interests of the elite lead to a the sustainable development roadmap marked by fatalities and disasters, whereas, the environmental crisis is the result of a civilisational crisis that requires a paradigm shift.

A paradigm shift is indeed needed in which freedom of expression would be a transversal dimension present at all levels of the debate, while in the effective exercise of the right to communicate, the political capacity of national communities to define social pacts that mobilize development models based on the common good is at stake.


We call:

• To include in the final resolutions of Rio+20 that the right to communicate is a necessary condition for sustainable development and the protection of the environment;

• To establish clear objectives and specific terms for the adoption by Member States of national legislations that allow the exercise of the right to communicate in accordance with international standards of freedom of expression and the orientation of the programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);

• To support local, regional, and global civil society, and to promote the participation of all individuals and organizations interested in the decision-making process that affect their lives and their living conditions;

• To protect and exercise the right to freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and dissension to create new fair and equitable models of sustainable development;

• That governments promote the existence, sustainability and the development of community media that respond to the need of these people marginalized in the strategies of sustainable development and that are the most affected by the consequences of climate change;

• In the same way, we call the nations around the world to rethink the current model of development, which is the main cause of the consequences of climate change, replacing it with new economic, political, social and ethical systems that improve wealth distribution and that use natural resources in a rational and sustainable manner.

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)