Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2022, 7th Anniversary.
Short name: Access to Information Day
Sponsor: the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The International Day for Universal Access to Information is annually celebrated to recognize “the importance of the right of access to information for defending other human rights, for restoring trust, and for advancing inclusive, democratic societies.
Information is always important for everyone to make decisions and actions in daily life. Without sufficient information, it would be quite difficult for people to make right decisions. “Universal access to information means that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information”. This right is bound up with the right to freedom of expression. Therefore, access to information has been increasingly recognized as a prerequisite for claiming human rights. It is a fundamental right in human life!
Access to information is also vital for sustainable development worldwide. It has been listed as an indicator under Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
International Day for Universal Access to Information was first held around the world on 28 September 2016.
It originated from a meeting of civil society movement, held in Sofia, Bulgaria on 28 September 2002, which first named 28 September as International Right to Know Day.
On 17 November 2015, in response to the appeal by African civil society groups seeking greater information transparency, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially declared 28 September of each year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (UNESCO 38 C/70).
Recognizing the significance of access to information, the 74th UN General Assembly also adopted a resolution (A/RES/74/5) on 15 October 2019, proclaiming 28 September as the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
So far, more than 130 countries in the world have issued access to information laws.
How to celebrate the Access to Information Day
On that day, individuals, organizations, and governments are welcome to host various events (such as seminars, lectures, symposiums, panel discussions, webinars, or social media campaigns) to raise and spread awareness of everyone’s right to request and obtain information from public bodies and to highlight the importance of free access to information in saving lives, promoting health, and sustainable development, especially in emergency situations or during public health crises.
Annual theme in recent years:
2022 theme: “Artificial Intelligence, e-Governance and Access to Information”.
2021 theme: “The Right to Know – Building Back Better with Access to Information”.
2020 theme: “Access to Information – Saving lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope”.
2019 theme: “Leaving No One Behind”.
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