I reiterate our congratulations on your appointment, which I extend to the distinguished elected members of the Bureau.
Our delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. In like manner, we support the statement delivered by Costa Rica on behalf of the Group of Friends of Spanish (GAE).
After considering the report presented by the Secretary-General relating to the strategic communications services, our delegation would like to commend the serious communications work carried out by the Organization in the aftermath of the pandemic.
We applaud that, at the end of June 2021, the "Pause" campaign was launched, which is part of the "Verified" initiative and aims to encourage people to pause before sharing content online, thus helping to curb the spread of inaccurate information about the COVID-19.
We appreciate that, in this report, the section dedicated to promoting Multilingualism remains, which recognizes the significance of furnishing the public with information about COVID-19 prevention measures and the importance of vaccines in their local languages.
With regard to the report on the news service, it is noticeable that the Department has ensured that the use of new and emerging technologies does not deprive us of the use of traditional communication tools, such as radio, television and video, in formats that facilitate access by smaller radio and TV broadcasters.
As a member country of the Group of Friends of Spanish, we are pleased to ascertain in the report that the UN News website in Spanish was the most visited of the nine websites of its kind in the period under review. This demonstrates the existence of an information-hungry audience.
It is regrettable that, in the century of the new information and communications technologies, illiteracy in the world is still a reality. It affects nearly 781 million young people and adults worldwide, who lack basic reading and writing skills. This gap has widened since 2021, with the situation triggered by COVID-19.
In Cuba, despite the unjust, unilateral and illegal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States and its impact on this field, we are making headway in the process of society informatization, as it constitutes a priority for the Cuban State. We are working strenuously on the development of telecommunications infrastructure and services. The Information and Communications Technologies sector is part of the strategic mainstays within the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030.
The economic damages and losses caused by the blockade to the communications and information technology sector, including telecommunications in Cuba, during the period from January to July 2021, are estimated at USD 37,520,578.
In recent years, there has been a continual and systematic increase in the aggressiveness of the U.S. policy against our country that uses digital platforms with particular viciousness. The United States uses cyberspace to try to subvert the Cuban political and legal system. It finances the development of platforms for the production of ideological content that overtly call for toppling our constitutional order. From U.S. soil, calls for protests in public spaces are stirred up, and even the execution of sabotages, attacks and terrorist acts are incited, including the assassination of law enforcement officers and government representatives.
We must once again reiterate before this Committee our total rejection and condemnation of the permanent radio and television aggression by the Government of the United States against Cuba, which violates the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and various provisions of the International Telecommunication Union. Such is the case of the broadcasting of shows specially designed to instigate the overthrowing of the constitutional order established by the Cuban people.
In the first three months of 2022, 20,830 hours have been illegally broadcast from the territory of the United States to Cuba through 20 frequencies.
We once again express our strongest protest and condemnation of the US government's attempt to flagrantly violate Cuba´s sovereignty with regard to the national competence to regulate the flow of information and the use of the mass media, while rejecting the attempt to manipulate the Internet to carry out illegal programs for political and subversive purposes.
We reiterate that the use of communications technologies must be fully compatible with the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and respect the sovereignty of each country, the non-interference with the domestic affairs of States and the internationally recognized norms of peaceful coexistence among them.
To conclude, we reaffirm the role that the Committee on Information must play in promoting the establishment of a new, more just and equitable world information and communications order aimed at strengthening peace and international understanding, as enshrined in its founding documents. We are committed to these objectives and are ready to collaborate with all States to make them a reality.