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New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO)

Claudia Padovani


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The New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) is the result of a political proposal concerning media and communication issues emerging from international debates in the late 1970s. The term originated in discussions within the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), following the proposal for a “new international economic order,” and became the expression of the aspirations of many countries in the global south to democratize the international communication system and rebalance information flows worldwide. UNESCO played a major role in fostering the debate until the early 1980s, especially through the work of an independent commission chaired by Irish diplomat Sean MacBride (→  UNESCO ). The commission's report, Many voices, one world ( MacBride Commission 2004 ), outlined the main international problems in communication and summarized NWICO's basic philosophical thrust. It was adopted at the twenty-first general conference of UNESCO in Belgrade (1980) and still remains a milestone in the history of global debates around communication issues. In order to fully appreciate the relevance and implications of the NWICO debates it is important to stress the political climate of the time. Confrontations between the Soviet and western blocs were paralleled by the growing importance of north–south confrontations: a large number of former colonies had gained political independence over ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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