International Day for Universal Access to Information is observed on September 28 every year. This day supports the idea that everyone around the globe has the fundamental right to seek, receive and disseminate information. This right is also linked to the right to freedom of expression. Communication at all levels, local, national, and worldwide, is included. The right to information is necessary for making decisions, engaging in democratic government, and increasing openness which aids citizens in having access to knowledge about how they are being governed. It builds a ground for a fight against corruption. The media also plays a critical role, as it informs the public about topics of interest and relies on the ability to seek and receive information. That is why it is believed that this right is also linked to the right to freedom of the press.
History of International Day for Universal Access to Information
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a resolution on November 17, 2015, declaring September 28 as International Day for Universal Access to Information. Furthermore, the U.N. General Assembly has designated September 28, 2019, as the International Day for Universal Access to Information, recognizing that various civil society organizations and government entities worldwide have embraced and are currently celebrating this commemoration.
UNESCO and its intergovernmental programs provide a forum and framework for all parties to participate in international policy and normative discussions on access to information as a human right. Worldwide, Right to Know Day has been observed since 2002 and was created by international civil society advocates in 2012. African civil society organizations lobbied UNESCO to pass the resolution establishing the day because they wanted more information transparency.
Currently, there are only 17 African Union member states that have adopted national right-to-information laws. Groups like Open Government Partnership hope that recognizing the right to information will provide an essential platform for all stakeholders at a national level. This is to discuss adopting and effectively implementing federal right-to-information laws in line with continental and international standards and obligations.
International Day for Universal Access to Information timeline
International Right to Know Day commences on September 28, 2002.
The UNESCO General Assembly designates September 28 as "International Day for Universal Access to Information."
The seventy-fourth United Nations General Assembly declares September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information in October 2019.
The theme highlights the role of access to information laws and their enforcement in rebuilding solid institutions for the public good and sustainable development.
International Day for Universal Access to Information FAQs
What is the definition of the right to access information?
The right to seek, receive and impart information held by public agencies is known as access to information.
How can we access information?
There are many options to access information; for instance, people connect to the Internet or public access sites like libraries and schools.
Which country first established a law on right to information?
Sweden was the first country to establish a law guaranteeing freedom of the press. This Act was passed in 1766.
How to Observe International Day for Universal Access to Information
Attend online seminars
UNESCO and other partner institutions will host six online webinars to mark the occasion. You can celebrate by attending these seminars and understand your fundamental right.
This day is also an excellent opportunity to promote the right to information. Right to information is a fundamental human right, and some individuals are unaware of its existence.
Use the hashtags #IDUAI or #UniversalAccessToInformation
Think what it would be like if people did not have access to information. Then, to reach a wider audience, make a post expressing your opinions and share it on Instagram with the hashtag.
5 Benefits Of Universal Right To Access To Information
Citizens can hold government accountable
With access to information, citizens can demand accountability from public officials.
It ensures transparency
This benefit is related to the government and private entities that are also in charge of people's information.
It helps fight corruption
Because people have access to public spending records, officials will be more careful how they use public funds.
Governments are more transparent
With access to information, governments can document what they intend to do for their citizenry.
It enables evidence-based decisions
Informed choices are critical in democratic governments since they improve resource allocation and save public funds.
Why International Day for Universal Access to Information is Important
It is a Human Right
According to the United Nations, everyone enjoys this human right. It implies that no government or private body should infringe on the universal right to information.
This day is celebrated across the world
This day is celebrated worldwide. Many countries have recognized the importance of freedom of information.
This day raises awareness
It is critical to understand how citizens are governed so that they can hold their governments accountable for their policies and actions. Information is, without a doubt, power.
International Day for Universal Access to Information dates