September 28 marks the International Day for Universal Access to Information ( International Day for Universal Access to Information ) – a commemorative date established by UNESCO in 2015. The UN General Assembly in 2019 also included this date on the list of its international days.
Adhering to the principles of the Sustainable Society Development Program, designed for the period up to 2030, UNESCO drew attention to the importance of such a principle and pillar of the democratic foundations of modern society as the availability of information to the public. This principle was proclaimed back in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 19 article of which clearly states that a person has the right and freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information.
Information — is power, so universal access to information is the cornerstone of a healthy, inclusive and knowledge-based society.
In this case, only the law, which can introduce the concept of state or military secrets, as well as limit information and ideas in accordance with the rule of law, is an absolute limiter. That is, the content of the information disseminated should not contradict the current legislation.
To celebrate the date, with the participation of UNESCO, various events ( forums, conferences ) are organized with the indispensable participation of representatives of states that are members of UNESCO. Representatives of state power, as well as civil society organizations and the media, who work together to develop principles for more effective implementation of the law on the right to information, are invited to these events.
In addition to major events held by UNESCO, conferences, public events, seminars with the assistance of public civil society organizations are held in different countries in late September to mark the celebration of International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Also in recent years, UNESCO and the UN recall that the focus should be on the right to information during a crisis and the benefits of having constitutional, legislative and/or political guarantees for public access to information to save lives, build trust and help develop sustainable policies during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
Tasks pursued by the organizers, – raising the awareness of citizens about their right to information, as well as reminding government officials of the need to ensure legislation in the field of the right to information. UNESCO emphasizes that free access to information helps to build a more open and efficient social structure, allows citizens to more widely own knowledge for full participation in society and the state, and prevents corruption of power structures, ensures accountability of governments and local governments.
In turn, competent ownership and obtaining information requires a certain level of knowledge, skills from society, especially taking into account the transition to digital technologies for storing and transmitting information. Only a developed society is able to exercise its right to free access to information, since it is not enough to receive it. It requires analysis and reflection in order to be used for good. Society and the state must take care to teach their citizens to properly seek, receive, analyze and use information. The media play a special role in realizing the right of citizens to information. The presence of free independent media – is also one of the key to the success of the realization of citizens' right to access information.
Infographics – poster « September 28 — International Day for Universal Access to Information »