NAM calls for alternative media to counter 'biased' western news agencies

PTI9_18_2016_000045B World leaders participate in the 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) at Margarita Island in Venezuela on Saturday | PTI

The need to strengthen and revitalise the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) in order to make it an effective pressure group against the western dominance in the international forum was a major takeaway from the NAM meet that was hosted by Venezuela at the Island of Margarita from September 13 to 18.  In the changing global scenario, where the ruler-colony distinction is getting blurred, there are a host of rising inequities which continue to keep Africa, Asia and Latin America, with their growing economies and rising  aspirations, as distinct from the traditional powers, read Eurpoe and North America. 

As representatives of 120 countries deliberated on a host of issues ranging from terrorism to climate change and a bigger voice in the United Nations, one need emerged very clearly. This bloc should develop a "new world information and communication order''. World over, news agencies of the western world report developments, and those reports definitely reflect their biases. The other voices are often drowned out, as their reports are unable to withstand the aggressive information bombardment of the west. 

Venezuelan ambassador to India, Augusto Montiel, while discussing the main outcomes of the meet, said that NAM expressed deep concern over the use of media as a tool of hostile propaganda against developing countries. NAM stressed the need to promote alternative, free, pluralistic and responsible media and communication sources which reflect the realities and views of people in the developing world. 

The meet also reiterated the need for reform in the United Nations, specially the security council so that it reflects contemporary geopolitical realities. The leaders also agreed that the selection of the UN general secretray should be through a more inclusive and transparent process. 

The meet condemned measures by Israel to alter the legal, physical and demographic structure of Syrian Golan.

As the 52nd session of NAM concluded, however, there were strong questions about the relevance of the association and its role. Prime minister Narendra Modi's decision to skip the meet, which the NDA government sees as a legacy of the Congress and Jawaharlal Nehru, was evident. However, with vce-president Hamid Ansari representing the country, India's commitment to NAM couldn't be said to have completely disappeared. It just brought less media coverage to the event in India. Also, new economic realities and friendships have changed the world from the time when NAM was begun over half a century ago. "It is important for the developing world to realise our welfare is in staying together, and speaking as one loud voice at international fora,'' said Montiel. Venezuela will be the NAM head for the next three years. NAM's agreement on boosting South South cooperation is another way of strengthening this solidarity. 

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