30.09.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

Access to Info Day celebrated all over the world

Passengers on the popular Jakarta-Bogor commuter train invited to celebrate International Day for Universal Access to Information in Indonesia. © UNESCO/Ronitua Siregar

Celebrations of the first International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on September 28 took place in at least 20 countries, kicking off with IPDC Talks at UNESCO’s headquarters on September 26. An exhibition to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act passed in 1766 was also jointly organized by the Permanent Delegations of Sweden and Finland. The Act is considered the first constitutionally protected freedom of information legislation in the world.

Countries around the world, including Namibia, Paraguay, Jakarta and Kazakhstan were amongst those commemorating the first International Day for Universal Access to Information, proclaimed by UNESCO in November 2015. IDUAI calls for the promotion freedom of information and right to information laws, open access polices and the relevance of access to information to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Encouraging countries to adopt Freedom of Information legislation and strengthen existing access to information laws was the focus of the events organized in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Mexico, Mongolia, Madagascar, Morocco and Palestine amongst others. The adoption of freedom of information laws has been a global trend over the last decade with more than 100 countries with access to information laws.

The recognition of access to information as a means to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Goals, particularly SDG 16 and its target 10, was the topic of discussion of seminars in South Asia.

Also in this context, an international expert meeting conference was organized in Indonesia by the Global Forum for Media Development to discuss key issues regarding SDG16.10 indicators to better assess progress to its achievement. 

Debates around the promotion of open governance and the role of open access policies, documentary heritage and the adoption of ICTs to ensure inclusive, knowledge societies and equal access to women and men were held in Brazil, Cuba, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The result of the Day was raised awareness about access to information as a fundamental right and powerful engine for positive change.

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