Freedom of information, and universal access to it, is crucial to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, and the United Nations is at the forefront of the battle to protect these rights, a senior information official has said.
“Free speech and media freedom are an inseparable part of the United Nations’ mission for peace, human development and a better world,” Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka told a global seminar on linguistic diversity, globalization and development in Egypt.
By the end of 2010, there will be an estimated 5.3 billion mobile cell phone users; access to mobile networks is now available to 90 per cent of the world population and 80 per cent of people living in rural areas.
Moreover, the total number of text messages sent globally has tripled in the past three years, from 1.8 trillion to a staggering 6.1 trillion, that is 200,000 text messages sent every second. But the digital divide remains, the UN warns, with 71 per cent of the population of developed countries online, compared to only 21 per cent in developing countries.