10 December 2008

Honoring Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We at VOA would like to mark the occasion by directing your attention to Article 19:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

VOA conducts much of its work by transmitting information across international frontiers --- sometimes into countries that don’t support the notion of a free flow of news and ideas. Some of these countries go to great (and expensive) lengths to block VOA programming.

Some of the blocking is aimed at preventing people from accessing VOA websites.

Some blocking is aimed at VOA radio and television broadcasts, using a technique known as jamming.

As VOA Director Danforth Austin has noted, “Millions of people tune in to VOA every week or visit VOANews.com for trustworthy news and information. When our broadcast frequencies are jammed or our website is blocked, it is the people in our audiences who suffer the most.”

We continue to believe all countries engaged in jamming or internet censorship should halt such activities and live up to the promise of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by allowing a truly free flow of information.

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