UNESCO supports Moroccan civil society groups in celebration of Right to Know Day
UNESCO’s Office in Rabat in partnership with the World Bank Institute is supporting a series of events to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of information for all people in Morocco. These activities are scheduled to take place this week as part of the celebration of the Right to Know Day by civil society organizations and other actors worldwide – this year marking a decade since advocates started commemorating the Day every 28 September.
The events are being organized by the association Transparency Maroc and the Moroccan Network of civil society groups for Access to Information (REMDI). They comprise a conference to be held on 28 September, as well as a series of cultural and artistic activities scheduled to take place on 29 September in Rabat, such as songs and a theatre play focusing on how the right to access information held by public institutions can benefit each and every person.
Following the adoption of the new Moroccan Constitution in 2011 - article 27 of which guarantees freedom of information - discussions regarding the enactment of specific freedom of information legislation have been ongoing. In this context, it has become critically important to foster widespread knowledge about the positive impact of this right on people’s lives, and regarding its importance for furthering transparency, justice and the fight against corruption.
In working with Moroccan civil society organizations as they commemorate the Right to Know Day, UNESCO Rabat builds up on past cooperation in the country. The events also follow UNESCO’s recent participation at the international conference to discuss freedom of information in Morocco that was convened in Casablanca by the National Human Rights Council.
This support for the Right to Know Day activities is framed by broader efforts in the region. In June this year, UNESCO supported the North African Consultation on the Model Access to Information Law for African Union Member States organized in Tunis by the African Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information and the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria.
Also in June, UNESCO granted patronage to a workshop focusing on the road ahead for freedom of information in the Middle East and North Africa sponsored by the World Bank Institute’s Access to Information Programme and other partners. UNESCO will also participate in the Right to Know Day commemoration that Touensa will organize in Tunis on 28 September. On this occasion, UNESCO will share technical recommendations resulting from meetings facilitated between freedom of information experts and members of the National Constituent Assembly, as well as from the recently published assessment based on the application of the Media Development Indicators in Tunisia.
UNESCO supports freedom of information around the world, in pursuance of its mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”. In September 2011, UNESCO supported the Pan African Conference on Access to Information, held in Cape Town, South Africa. From this event emerged the African Platform on Access to Information, which has fed into advocacy for this right in the region.