Friday, December 5, 2008

Content in Local Languages is as Essential as Connectivity

Miriam Nisbet, Director
Information Society Division,
Secretary of the IFAP Council

06 December 2008

Dear Madam:

Your latest News Report from the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector's news service, dated 05 December 2008, is headlined

“Content in Local Languages is as Essential as Connectivity.” Your release reads in part:

“The power of the Internet is multiplied when people are able to access and use content in their local languages, agreed a group of experts who opened the 2008 Internet Governance Forum in a session on Reaching the Next Billion: Multilingualism … Content in local languages is as essential as connectivity. People must be able to create and receive information in their local language and to be able to express themselves in ways their peers can understand.”

We could not agree more. Yet there is an issue here that you have not addressed.

In Germany, Austria and France, for example, people are not able to “create and receive information in the local language” – that is, in German or French – about the Holocaust question because it is prohibited by law, law that is not challenged by UNESCO. Are we to take this to mean that you agree that people should be allowed to “create and receive information” in their local language only in “some” languages? If so, in which languages other than German and French is it agreed by UNESCO, and by you, that people should NOT be allowed to create and receive information freely?

Your response will be much appreciated.


Bradley R. Smith, Founder
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro CA 92143
Desk: 209 682 5327

Advancing the UNESCO mandate to encourage the free flow
of ideas, not for a preferred minority, but for all.

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