International Day for Universal Access to Information

Quick Facts - NZ

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2023 Date28 September 2023
2024 Date28 September 2024

International Day for Universal Access to Information

International Day for Universal Access to Information in
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International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) focuses on promoting and raising awareness about the importance of access to information as a fundamental human right. This annual observance, recognized by UNESCO, highlights the significance of transparent and accountable governments, fostering the free flow of information, and developing inclusive knowledge societies. In essence, IDUAI advocates for universal access to information, which fosters sustainable development, innovation, and overall social well-being.

The concept of universal access to information dates back to 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which included the right to seek, receive, and impart information. In New Zealand, this notion aligns with the country's national values of transparency, integrity, and accountability. To ensure these principles are upheld within the country, New Zealand has enacted legislation such as the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993, which provide frameworks for promoting access to public information and protecting individual privacy rights.

In celebration of IDUAI, various events and activities take place across New Zealand to highlight the importance of open access to information and its role in promoting democracy, civic participation, and human rights. Educational institutions, libraries, and civil society organisations engage the broader public through workshops, panel discussions, and information-sharing initiatives. National and local government agencies also use this opportunity to reflect on their roles and responsibilities in ensuring transparency, access to information, and protecting citizens' privacy rights. International Day for Universal Access to Information is observed annually on September 28th, emphasizing its significance in fostering inclusive and informed societies not only in New Zealand but across the globe.

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Facts about this observance

  • The theme for International Day for Universal Access to information in 2022 was Artifical Intelligence, e-Governance and Access to Information.
  • Public access to information can enhance the protection of human rights, bring about better governance, including by fighting corruption, and drive sustainable development. - Moez Chakchouk
  • More than 90% of Americans have internet access, with 77% reporting broadband access at home.
  • New Zealand practices a minimal level of internet censorship, primarily focused on blocking websites containing child exploitation or extreme violence. This ensures that citizens have open access to information and ideas on the internet while protecting the public from harmful content.
  • New Zealand's Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) ensures that the public has access to information held by government organizations. It also allows citizens to request information that may not have been made public.

Top things to do in NZ for this observance

  • Visit your public library and check out their available resources.
  • Organize or attend educational sessions focused on the importance of access to information and its impact on democracy, transparency, and sustainable development.
  • Conduct workshops to train citizens in basic journalism skills, empowering them to actively seek, verify, and report information.

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