The day was proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015, with the aim that more countries will adopt FOI (freedom of information) legislation, develop policies for multilingualism and cultural diversity in cyberspace, and ensure that those people with disabilities are integrated. These steps will further strengthen progress towards the 2030 Development agenda and pave the way for the creation of knowledge societies worldwide.
This year’s theme will highlight the role of access to information laws and their implementation to build back strong institutions for the public good and sustainable development, as well as to strengthen the right to information and international cooperation in the field of implementing this basic human right.
As UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has stated in the Message on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information,
Access to reliable information saves lives. Misinformation and rumours can cost them. This simple lesson is one we have learnt to our detriment in recent years. Whether fighting a global pandemic or supporting public debate, we need free, reliable and independent information as the foundation upon which democratic societies are built.
To celebrate the occasion, a series of online panels will take place, developing and reflecting further on how to ensure universal access to information, how to leverage digital technologies for peace and sustainable development, and more. More information on the planned events for the day can be found in the official programme.
Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, the importance to achieve universal access to information in the digital sphere is one of our main concerns. If you are interested in exploring the topic further, we recommend reading the following:
- The June 2020 edition of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) bulletin exploring freedom of expression online in the age of disinformation.
- eTwinning, the community for schools in Europe, has explored how education professionals can tackle disinformation and misinformation and foster media literacy in classrooms.
Additionally, you can find below just a handful of useful pedagogical resources designed by the Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) which are freely accessible in the BIK resource gallery:
- "The Media Citizen Podcast – your guide to a conscious media use" - a podcast produced by the Swedish Media Council that tackles different media issues. Available in Swedish.
- An online course on how to decrypt online information aimed at high school students, by InfoHunter (Tralalere). Available in French and English.
- "Deepfakes" - a teaching program on media literacy by the Norwegian Media Authority. Available in Norwegian.
For more information about the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2021, visit the UNESCO website and follow the celebrations of the day on social media with the hashtag #AccessToInfoDay and #RightToKnow.