Reporters without Borders would like to take this occasion to forewarn the United Nations system, as well as all Member-State governments, not to make any attempt to use this Summit-whose aim is to narrow the technological gap between rich and poor countries-as a means to further impede press freedom on the Internet.
It indeed became evident, during the various regional preparatory meetings that have already occurred around the globe, that many governments were planning to use the fight against criminal activities over the networks as justification for imposing censorship and other coercive measures that may also curtail the media’s new technological activities. We have found, in these States’ contributions, the same interventionist and restrictive ideas that inspired the liberticidal project of the "New World Order of Information" in the 1970s and 1980s.
Reporters without Borders’ mistrust was heightened, at these regional meetings, by the manifest desire on the part of several States to prevent civil society and NGO representatives from participating in the preliminary proceedings of the World Summit on the Information Society. Neither is it reassuring that the second phase of the Summit is scheduled to be held in 2005 in Tunisia-a country whose deplorable situation, in terms of freedom of expression and freedom of information, is common knowledge.