3 June, 1999Knowledge is power and free and open debate is necessary for democracy.
Communication is an extremely important instrument which is essential for developing and improving the democratic process in all organisations. The IMF is no exception. Communication is not a goal in itself, but it is indispensable for achieving our goals. Improving information and communication is one of the priorities decided by the last IMF Congress. Trade unions around the world have so far not used the full potential of technological means to develop their information and communication systems to enhance their dialogue with their members on the shop floor and in the office. And the IMF has been no better than others. We must improve and seize upon the great opportunity that new information technology offers. At the next IMF Central Committee meeting, in Helsinki, we will launch a new website and a new way of using advanced information technology within the IMF. We hope that our affiliates will have the opportunity to find, send, search for and exchange information relevant to their members and their families. The General Secretary will regularly write about issues concerning metalworkers, to launch a direct dialogue. Use this great opportunity and make your voice heard. Your contributions can help influence the IMF and its decision-making bodies. Although this is the major objective of an improved and democratic information system, it is only one of many possibilities the IMF is examining to improve communication in the IMF family. We know that not all affiliates have the possibility to make use of the Internet or e-mail and for them the IMF has to continue to develop other, alternative means of communication. IMF publications will be reviewed and improved in the course of this year. Stig Jutterström, Katherine Livas and Pascal Erny - all working in the IMF Press and Communications Department - will do their best to make sure that all ways of communicating are open and will remain open to IMF affiliates and their members. We are only just beginning, and we need to learn to share our experience with all the affiliates. We are beginning our new information and communication strategy and, together with all of you, will use it to implement our Action Programme and achieve its goals.