Celebrating the International Day for Universal Access to Information

The International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), also known as the Access to Information Day, will be celebrated on Friday, 28 September 2018. 

The Access to Information Day originated from the International Right to Know Day, which has been developed by international civil society organisations since 2002. In 2015, at the request of African civil society groups seeking greater information transparency, UNESCO adopted resolution 38 C/70 making each 28 September the "International Day for Universal Access to Information" (IDUAI). Access to information is linked directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably goal 16.10, "to ensure public access to information and to protect fundamental freedoms".

For the occasion, UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) will organise the IPDCtalks, a global event series aiming to highlight the importance of access to information in all development efforts around the world. The main event will take place in Tunis, Tunisia, and will start on 25 September. Eight regional IPDCtalks will simultaneously take place in other countries to celebrate the right to know (Afghanistan, Jordan, Namibia, Gambia, Pakistan, Colombia, Palestine and Malaysia).
The theme of the conference will be "Good Laws and Practices for Open Societies: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information". It will gather world-renowned speakers, such as Yemeni journalist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, Member of the Global Education Commission Amel Karboul, or freelance journalist, open-source investigator and winner of the 2017 European Press Prize Christiaan Triebert.

The talks pursue three main objectives:

  • To show that public access to information and ICTs, along with strengthening media institutions that help assure access is key to achieving the SDGs in their totality.
  • To encourage Member States to consider integrating free, independent and pluralistic media, as well as universal access to information and knowledge via ICTs, within their policies for implementing SDGs in a creative, accessible and innovative way.
  • To raise public awareness about the media's important role in monitoring progress towards the SDGs and in holding governments accountable for their achievement, and seek support to strengthen media development and access to information initiatives in this direction, particularly in the least developed countries.

Fostering a free and equitable access to information requires promoting media and information literacy. According to the 2005 Alexandria Proclamation, information literacy is the "beacon of the Information Society, illuminating the courses to development, prosperity and freedom. Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations."

The Insafe network has undertaken many initiatives to promote media and information literacy among children and young people, such as:

  • The UK Safer Internet Centre has launched "Trust Me", a resource to explore critical thinking online with primary and secondary school pupils.
  • Finland organises every year in February the Media Literacy Week, involving a wide range of stakeholders in the promotion of information literacy and media education.

If you wish to follow the IPDCtalks, the conference will be livestreamed on the UNESCO website.

For more information, visit UNESCO's webpage on access to information and watch the aftermovie of the 2017 IPDCtalks in Paris.


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