Development in mass media techniques has been so rapid and far-reaching that it is now uncontrollable. Owing to commercialization, subversive organizations may use the media for their own purposes. Contributors to surveys may restrict their own freedom. Despite censorship, alien propaganda may be spread by the use of sophisticated techniques, and where there is freedom of expression, monopoly of media outlets may restrict this freedom and issue unrepresentative information. Modern reproduction and dissemination techniques may facilitate copyright infringement.
The media was heavily criticized in the June 1985 hijacking of a TWA airplane to Beirut, due to the amount of coverage it gave to the hijackers and their demands. The leaking by the press of the pre-summit letter (in the Reagan/Gorbachev summit, November 1985) from Defence Secretary Casper Weinberger to President Reagan, necessitated the launching of an investigation, as this leak was accused of being an attempt to sabotage the peace efforts of that meeting.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.