28 September 2011

World celebrates Right to Know Day

Right to Know day arose when a group of freedom of information advocates from various countries around the globe met in Bulgaria on 28 September 2002 and agreed to collaborate in the promotion of the right of access to information and open, transparent governance. The group proposed that 28 September be nominated as ‘Right to Know Day', a day to raise awareness of, and promote the right of access to, information. Since then 28 September has been adopted by freedom of information advocates and a number of governments around the world.

This year Right to Know Day was celebrated throughout Africa, Europe, South America, North Amerca, the Middle East and elsewhere. The events held took a wide variety of forms, including conferences, lectures, public debates, and campaigns to encourage Freedom of Information applications.

In Johannesburg, the South African Human Rights Commission hosted the National Information Officers’ Forum. More information about the forum is available here. Speaking at the event, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, called on the South African government to formally recognise Right to Know Day.

At another event, Professor Jonathan Klaaren of the University of Witwatersrand spoke to university students in Washington D.C. by video conference to discuss South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act and Protection of State Information Bill. In addition to Professor Klaaren’s lecture, Washington devoted a panel to discuss the competing concepts of national security and freedom of information, as well as the protection of whistle-blowers.

If you would like more information about the events or to make a request for information, contact the Freedom of Information Programme.