WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY SYMBOLIZES SUPPORT FOR LIBERTY OF THOUGHT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MESSAGE ON DAY, COMMEMORATED 23 APRIL
WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY SYMBOLIZES SUPPORT FOR LIBERTY OF THOUGHT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MESSAGE ON DAY, COMMEMORATED 23 APRIL19960422 Following is the text of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's message on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, which is commemorated 23 April:
I am pleased to extend my warm support on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day. I am particularly pleased that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has seen fit to include, together with an observance of the value of books to our culture, the important concept of copyright.
Books are more than objects. They represent idea, thoughts and the very concept of freedom of information we hold dear. For this purpose, books cannot be dissociated from their authors and their readers. They have a particular social function, in addition to their literary merit.
This is why it is equally important, as we celebrate the contribution of books to our society, that we continue the effort for a genuine respect of copyright legislation. This is more than a protection of the financial interests of the authors, editors or publishers. It goes right to the heart of a society's respect for the contribution of books and their authors, for the recognition of the contribution of ideas to our civilizations.
At the same time, the concept of copyright needs to be extended into the political area. Thus, a society that values books, that rightly values the importance of free thought, should not engage in censorship.
Also associated with a society's recognition of books is the obligation to pursue the literacy effort. Books require readers, and readers are the other pillar, with authors, of a society where ideas flow freely to the benefit of all. These are the political dimensions of the World Book and Copyright Day, and they should be highlighted.
At a time when the communications revolution brings ideas and messages to people everywhere, World Book and Copyright Day symbolizes our support for the liberty of thought, and the freedom of information. These are the values that were embodied in the life of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Both died on 23 April, but through their books, they still speak to us today.
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