September 28: International Day for Universal Access to Information – Update (September, 2022)

UNESCO observes the International Day for Universal Access to Information on September 28 every year.

Key facts

  • The International Day for Universal Access to Information advocates for the right to seek, receive and distribute information.
  • It raises awareness about the importance of expanding laws concerning information and preserving the right to freedom of expression.
  • The theme for this year is “Artificial Intelligence, e-Governance and Access to Information”.
  • A global conference based on this theme will be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • It will include a high-level inter-ministerial roundtable on the Access to Information and Artificial Intelligence with global experts.

Background

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information on November 17, 2015. It was observed for the first time in 2016. The United Nations General Assembly has also adopted this day in 2019. This was done to promote access to information as a fundamental human right and a critical step towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Significance

The International Day for Universal Access to Information advocates that it is the fundamental right of everyone to access and disseminate information. Right to information ensures that media obtains and imparts the information to ensure that people make informed decisions. Hence, it is an integral part of the right to expression. The right to information increases transparency in the government and strengthens the democratic values. It also plays a crucial role in the battle against corruption and achieving press freedom. It is also important for achieving SDG 16.10, which calls for the promotion of the access to information and public freedom. It enables people to obtain the knowledge of how they are governed, enabling them to hold governments accountable for their decisions and actions.

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