Statement by Bruce C. Rashkow, Counselor, on the Department of Public Information, in the Committee on Information, Meeting of the General Assembly

Bruce Rashkow
U.S. Representative to the Fifth Committee 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
April 28, 2011


Thank you Mr. Chairman and good afternoon everyone. As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election as Chair of the Committee on Information.  I wish you success in chairing this committee.


On behalf of the United States I would like to thank Under Secretary General Akasaka for his remarks delivered Wednesday.  We are also appreciative of the detailed reports of the Secretary General on the activities of the Department of Public Information.


DPI, as with other parts of the Organization, must continue to improve its efficiency and effectiveness to achieve its mandate within the resources made available.  In this regard, my delegation continues to encourage the Under Secretary General to identify ways to improve coordination, efficiency, and integration of the Department of Public Information activities throughout the entire UN system.


We, as Member States, have a duty to help DPI maximize its value by prioritizing existing activities and scrutinizing proposals for new activities.  In this respect, we note the efforts of DPI in addressing the commemorative events it deals with regularly throughout the year.  We encourage DPI’s efforts to enhance efficiency in supporting these activities but also underscore the importance of ensuring adequate programming for integral DPI outreach activities.  In this vein we commend DPI on their recent Holocaust Remembrance activities such as the film screening of the “Relief of Belsen” and urge DPI to continue to provide appropriate resources for Holocaust Remembrance programs.


Finally Mr. Chairman, on May 4th we will commemorate World Press Freedom Day.  Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of American democracy that is enshrined in our Constitution's Bill of Rights.  We strongly believe that a free press is fundamental for true democracy. For this particular body – the Committee on Information – it is important that we recall the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' affirmation in Article 19 that "everyone has the right to freedom of 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."  This affirmation is perhaps more relevant now than ever.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



PRN: 2011/090