Today, 28 September, the whole world celebrates International Right to Know Day.

This date has been celebrated since 2003 after the idea to celebrate and promote the International Day of the Right to Know was expressed on September 28, 2002 at a conference devoted to freedom of information, which was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Representatives of Freedom of Information (FOI) organizations from 15 countries took part – Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, India, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, and USA, as well as representatives of international organizations which work in the field.

The aim of the international date is recalling the right of every person to access to government information. It is important because freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information is one of the most important political and personal human rights which is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right of society to receive information from public services is one of the signs of openness of governance, it is included in the constitutions of many countries. The right to know allows people to make informed choices, actively participate in the life of the country. It also helps the authorities to work with the population together to improve their living conditions.

On this day civil activists and organizations arrange a wide range of activities to raise awareness on the right of information and to foster making democratic societies. They organize conferences, trainings, competitions, award ceremonies, concerts, theatre performances, movies, launch info-requesting campaigns and web sites, etc. to this end.

The London Human Rights organization Article 19 makes a great contribution to the celebration of the significant date, and this is what her Senior Legal Counsel David Banisar says about this: “The right to know is celebrated in almost 50 countries around the world in order to emphasize the right of citizens to information which allows to monitor the activities of government officials. Our organization is named in honor of the 19th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of speech. Our goal is to provide access to information about the actions of the government – on what they spend government funds, how they make decisions and what are their future plans”.

 

For additional information see the link: http://foiadvocates.net

Olga Rogalevich