Press Release on the occasion of International Right to Know Day 28 September 2013
As International Right to Know Day is worldwide observed on 28 September to celebrate and raise awareness of the right to information, UNESCO continuous to help improve the transparency of Nepal’s government and the accountability of decision-making through a more efficient implementation of Nepal’s Right to Information Act.
UNESCO’s assistance presently focuses on a broad capacity building initiative that will enhance the knowledge and skills of journalists to use the right to information for investigative journalisms and to increase the awareness of people on how to use their right to information
The initiative comes under the project "Empowering people to enjoy their right to information for greater accountability of Nepal's power holders", which the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu implements together with the Federation of Nepali Journalist and the Citizens' Campaign for Right to Information. The project, which is funded by European Union, aims at empowering people to claim their right to information that the Interim Constitution has guaranteed and that is subject of the Right to Information Act of 2007.
The right to information plays a key role for good governance, accountability and transparency, which are essential elements for democracy. Whereas the right to information is legally guaranteed in Nepal, its implementation is facing many challenges. People do not have easy access to public information, as agencies lack capacity and human and financial resources and the political transition slows down many processes.
“Urgent action is needed before the right to information can fully play its role in Nepal’s development”, says Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and UNESCO Representative to Nepal
The project works towards three specific objectives: citizens have access to information that is relevant to them and are hence motivated to exercise their democratic rights; journalists recognize their role as the watchdogs of the power holders and proactively seek and publish correct and timely information; and local level government officials understand their role as public servants and are better enabled to share public information.
Kathmandu, 27 September 2013
Press Release UNESCO/KAT 16/2013
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