Ms Audrey Azoulay
Director-General of UNESCO
By email: [email protected]
cc Sabina Columbo
5 December 2017
Dear Director General Audrey Azoulay,
and Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Ms Zohour Alaoui, President of the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, H.E. Mr Lee Byong Hyun, Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, Mr Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court of France,
Re: Launching ceremony of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 11 December 2017
as President of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), I wish to send congratulations on behalf of all our members across the world on the outstanding achievement of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to be celebrated throughout 2018.
For us in IPRA, the UDHR, is not just an abstract idea, but has for 60 years been a concrete part of our ethos and the Code of Conduct we communicate across the world in all our work on bettering human communication.
Since our very first Code, adopted in Athens in 1965, and now enshrined in the preamble to our current Code of Conduct, every IPRA member knows the words:
“RECALLING the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and especially recalling Article 19”.
As we all know article 19 states: “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”.
It is from this right, that IPRA has found voice to express in our Code, its commitment that PR practitioners will “ensure the truth and accuracy of all information provided” and “make every effort to not intentionally disseminate false or misleading information”.
In 2017, the issue of fake news and alternative facts arose and adds resonance to these articles. As I stated in my message to our members earlier this year: “As IPRA members, we care deeply about this issue: accuracy and fact are within our DNA. We cannot other than raise our voice in support of the respect for science, fact, truth and an independent press. There are never alternative facts”.
As IPRA President 2017, I stand on the shoulders of my predecessors, and thank them for their wisdom in rooting our code of ethics in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Bart de Vries,
International Public Relations Association
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