This section contains background information about the philosophy of communication rights from 1969 to the present.
When Jean d’Arcy identified the need for a right to communicate (RTC) in the late 1960s, it immediately struck a chord among those attempting to link human rights with recent developments in communications technology, in particular, satellite communications (d’Arcy, 1969).
Following the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in December 2003, the CRIS Campaign, supported by WACC and the Ford Foundation, launched a project on ‘Global Governance and Communication Rights: A Role for Civil Society’. The goal of the project was to promote understanding of communication rights and to reform their governance, especially of media and communication.
There are many ways to come at the right to communicate. This methodology is based upon the premise that rights might be taken for granted if needs are in balance. Examples may include access to means of communication, if supplies meet needs few raise the "rights" issue.
'The right to freedom of expression has generally been considered in many legal systems as a negative right -- a freedom from government interference. ... Today, the right to communicate is increasingly being recognised as a fundamental human right without which all other human rights, especially freedom of expression, are meaningless.
In 1969, Jean d'Arcy published an article in the EBU Review entitled Communication satellites and the right of man to communicate. The oft-quoted opening sentence of that article reads as follows: 'The time will come when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will have to encompass a more extensive right than man's right to information, first laid down 21 years ago in Article 19. This is the right of man to communicate.' (d'Arcy, 1969)
The revolution in communication and information technology will have profound implications for all of those involved in the creation, production and dissemination of information, whether they are involved in scientific research, education, cultural, entertainment or commercial pursuits.
From the beginning of mankind, communication between people was the fundamental circumstance of self-realization of man and socio-economic development.
While the right to communicate may have first been conceived as an individual right, the concept has relevance at the societal and national levels. The right of nations to participate in a two-way flow of information on a basis of equality links the right to communicate to the international debate on free flow and balance.
The right to communicate is a fundamental human right that meets a universal social necessity. Thus, this right belongs in the category of rights put together in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that is, the right to liberty and security and the other rights that are permanent in man.
Most of the efforts on the right to communicate have concentrated on three main issues: reasons for the emergence of the concept; an adequate description of the new right; and, implementing the right.