The Vatican recognizes that all people have a right to information and communication, which is vital in the life of all democratic societies, Archbishop Celestino Migliore told a United Nations committee Oct. 13.

The archbishop expressed his hope that the Second Phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Tunis shortly, will lead to "further concrete efforts to build a more inclusive digital society, which will reduce the widespread ‘info-poverty’.

"It would be well if a new dynamic were created which goes beyond the political and commercial logic usually at play in these fields," he said.

The Vatican’s permanent observer at the UN said access to communication should not depend upon wealth, education, or political power. "The right to communicate is the right of all," he said.

The archbishop addressed the justice issues related to the Information Society, characterized by communications media and new technologies. New technologies, he said, have an important role to play in the advancement of the poor and in the promotion of their point of view before the world’s decision makers, said the archbishop.

"Knowledge is essential in establishing presence in the international marketplace, and is key to participating in the global economy of which the Internet is an increasingly important vehicle," he said.

He spoke of a successful Vatican-sponsored initiative in South America, called the Digital Network of the Church in Latin America (RIAL), which promotes digital technologies and media education, especially in poor areas. The Holy See also supports the continued promotion of the traditional role of libraries and radios in formation.

The archbishop emphasized the need to protect children and young people from the increase of violence, intolerance and pornography that is being published and broadcast.

He said people must also address whether technological progress helps humanity grow in dignity, responsibility and openness to others.

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