De UNESCO en de vrijheid van informatie : Een reconstructie van 50 jaar machtspolitiek

  • Jan Servaes orcid logo


This article assesses the role and profile of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the international information and communication debate over the past fifty years. It describes the ideological controversies and shifts which took place as a result of and for conditioned by political and economic power changes.
The concepts freedom of information' and 'free flow of information' are of a relatively recent date. However, the ideas on which they are based are very old.  For centuries, these principles have been at the base of the Western way of thinking. The practical application of these liberties soon escaped the national level and the need for international agreements was felt. This shift can partly be explained as a result of changing power factors, partly also through culturally defined interpretation problems.
A number of examples are presented. The interpretation of communication principles, the MacBride Report, or the New International Information Order, is linked to powershifts on the political and for economic level, as well as to the questioning of their universa[ validity.
The article also adresses the role of the Western newsmedia as agenda setters for the public and political opinion.

How to Cite:

Servaes, J., (1996) “De UNESCO en de vrijheid van informatie : Een reconstructie van 50 jaar machtspolitiek”, Res Publica 38(1), 73-93. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1996
Peer Reviewed