ICT: A tool to promote peace
"Thanks to the revolution in ICTs, there is a real opportunity for "multilogue" to promote mutual understanding and peace," said Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information yesterday in Bangkok, Thailand.
Attending the events organized by the Buddhist University on the occasion of the United Nations Day of Vesak, Buddha's Birthday, Khan said that the internet and mobile phones have become critical elements in the dissemination of information around the world, and are ensuring that some level of freedom of expression exists, even when control is the order of the day.
The transformative affect of ICTs on the media landscape is helping media fulfill their fundamental role as a witness, as a watchdog and as a means for people to communicate. These simple and often affordable tools empower ordinary citizens, allowing them to document the world around them and share that information beyond their national borders.
Khan stressed that when allowed access to all the information presented without fear or favor, communities seek common ground to resolve their differences. "It is the manipulation of facts, the warping of the truth to secure an agenda benefiting one group over another, which leads to rivalries, misunderstandings and ultimately violence," he added.
Abdul Waheed Khan also presented UNESCO's initiative of the Power of Peace network that envisions connecting the power of media and ICTs to the concept of building peace through communication and information.
Vesak Day, the full moon day of the fourth lunar month, is the most important annual event for the Buddhist community. It commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Final Nirvana of the Buddha. In December 1999, the General Assembly of the United Nations, at its fifty-fourth session recognized the Day of Vesak as an International Day of the United Nations and resolved that an appropriate activity would be held annually at the UN Headquarters and other offices as well.