Communication represents an essential and very important human need as well as a basic human right. Without having the possibility to communicate and talk to other people, no individual, community, group or any other institution would be able to exist, or prosper. Strictly speaking the ability to communicate or the general right of communication make it possible to exchange opinions, thoughts and meanings. So it enables people to express themselves and show their own points of view. Consequently communication makes people who and what they are and particularly strengthens human dignity. By having the right to communicate and express personal thoughts, ideas, and opinions, people feel themselves treated equally – in other words: Communication validates human equality. Thus the protection and implementation of communication rights represents an essential part of the general topic of human rights.

Strictly speaking there exist four central Pillars of Communication Rights. Each Pillar refers to a different domain of social existence, practice, and experience, in which communication generally represents a so-called core activity on the one hand and performs specific key functions on the other hand. The most important point considering the four pillars consists in the fact that each involves a relatively autonomous sphere of social action. So they are extremely necessary in order to achieve communication rights – a fact that means that everybody has the right to communicate about every single topic.

The Four Pillars of Communication Rights are the following ones:

  • Communicating on the Public Sphere: The role of communication and media in exercising democratic political participation in society.
  • Communication Knowledge: The terms and means by which knowledge generated by society is communicated, or blocked, for use by different groups.
  • Civil Rights in Communication: The exercise of civil rights relating to the processes of communication in society.
  • Cultural Rights in Communication: The communication of diverse cultures, cultural forms and identities at the individual and social levels.

The Four Pillars of Communication Rights point out very clearly why the right to communicate is important for people in order to live in freedom, peace, justice, and dignity. So the right to communicate can be seen as a means to enhance human rights as well as to carefully strengthen the social, cultural and economic lives of people of different nations, communities, institutions and groups.

It is very important to know that the ‘right to communicate’ does not have the equal meaning of ‘communication right’. In spite of all the two terms are closely related in both their history and usage. Strictly speaking the ‘right to communicate’ is generally associated with the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) debate and expresses the need for a legal acknowledgement as a framework for a better implementation. The other term, ‘communication right’, points out that a group of international rights fortifying communication already exists, but in spite of everything many are too often ignored.