Access to Information

@UNESCO/Chanthul Suos - Participants Enrolling in Press Freedom Day Workshop

“The right to information is the touchstone of all freedoms.” - United Nations General Assembly 1946

The usage of the term Access to Information varies around the world, but Access to Information, Freedom of Information, the Right to Information, or the Right to Know all signify a common interest and goal. UNESCO has been a traditional partner to the Cam­bodian government and stakeholders in the field of information, and has supported the development of ‘infostructures.’ Our office contributes to establishing information stan­dards and management tools that empower people to access and impart information.

In 2010, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN­HCHR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh have started working together towards promoting Access to Information in Cambodia. In order to ensure that the UN speaks with one voice, the three agencies are taking a coordinated approach towards advocating for the drafting and passage of the Access to Information law.

With the encouragement and support of donor countries and civil society, the Royal Gov­ernment has developed an Access to Information draft policy in 2007, and it is currently with the Ministry of National Assembly Senate Relations and Inspections (MoNASRI) pending the legislative process. Improving people’s access to information is essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Poor and marginalized communities in Cambodia are especially in need of information dealing with government policies, finances, education, health, environment and people’s rights, but these communities often do not have the resources to access such important information. Increasing access to information in Cambodia will strengthen the country’s democratic space and encour­age transparency, good governance and public participation in matters of state.

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