Access to Knowledge in Brazil

© UNESCO/Photodisc

The Federal Constitution of Brazil is aligned to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by establishing the access to public information as a right. 

International institutions and national authorities must find ways to avoid possible exclusion effects in the areas of access to information and knowledge, the spread of new communication and information technologies and the development of multilingualism in internet. In addition, Internet access, considered as a public information service, should be encouraged by the adoption of appropriate policies.

Several concrete measures to promote access to knowledge in cyberspace are proposed by UNESCO within the framework of its Recommendation to guide both the debate and action by the involved international instances in this domain. 

Right to Online Access to Information

The right to public information is a fundamental right that protects the exercise of other human rights. It guarantees transparency and the right to the memory of the country, to its true history to strengthen democracy. Besides, it guarantees the right to the press to access public information to help on investigative news. Public information can also be useful to other users such as enterprises, academia, researchers, and ordinary citizens.

Member States should recognize and enact the right to online access to public records and government administration records, including all the information citizens need in a modern democratic society, so to ensure the universal access to information in the public domain and its free flow, without geographical, economic or social discrimination.

Access for People with Disabilities

15 per cent of the world population lives with some form of disabilities. Nonetheless, information and communication technologies (ICT) have the potential for making significant improvements in the lives of these persons, allowing them to enhance their social, political and economic integration in communities and society by enlarging the scope of activities available to them. UNESCO contributes to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly on article 9 Accessibility, article 21 Freedom of expression and access to information, article 24 education and article 32 International cooperation.

  • More about the international symposium "Accessible Americas: Information and Communication to All" (São Paulo, 2014).

Multilingualism in Cyberspape

UNESCO’s Member States should establish and support national policies to promote multilingualism and universal access. Cultural diversity and multilingualism on the Internet have a key role to play in fostering pluralistic, equitable, open and inclusive knowledge societies. UNESCO encourages its Member States to develop comprehensive language-related policies, to allocate resources and use appropriate tools in order to promote and facilitate linguistic diversity and multilingualism, including the Internet and media within the framework of UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace.

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