International Day for Universal Access to Information

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2024 Date28 September 2024
2025 Date28 September 2025

International Day for Universal Access to Information

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International Day for Universal Access to Information

International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) is a global observance that aims to raise awareness of the importance of access to information as a fundamental human right, essential for fostering transparent and accountable governments as well as empowering individuals with knowledge and opportunities. Highlighting this critical need for open and transparent communication, the day seeks to facilitate discourse around ensuring information accessibility to all, embracing new technology and the role of public institutions in providing necessary resources.

Although IDUAI was initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015, the principles of open access and information sharing are deeply rooted in the UK's history and institutions, such as the Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Open Knowledge Foundation’s various open-data initiatives. These legislations and efforts demonstrate the UK's commitment towards democratizing information and fostering an informed society. Furthermore, organizations like the British Library and other public institutions play a significant role in making information readily accessible to the British public.

In the United Kingdom, IDUAI is observed through various activities, such as workshops, public seminars, and exhibitions, that aim to raise awareness and highlight the importance of information accessibility. Educational institutions, governmental bodies, libraries and private organisations across the nation engage in collaborative discussions and host events focused on addressing barriers to information access and promoting initiatives that make information more readily available to the public. These events provide a platform for dialogue and action on the significance of the free flow of knowledge and fostering transparency and social accountability. The International Day for Universal Access to Information is observed annually on 28th September in the United Kingdom and worldwide.

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.
  • The UK government actively supports open data initiatives making government datasets available to the public, allowing citizens, researchers, and businesses to analyze, interpret, and utilize the data for various purposes, promoting transparency, innovation, and better decision-making.
  • The UK government launched the Open Data Institute (ODI) in 2012, aiming to foster innovation, encourage data-driven decision making, and improve public services through open data. The ODI helps businesses, governments, and organizations share and utilize data for a variety of purposes, aligning with the goals of IDUAI.

Top things to do in the UK for this observance

  • Visit your public library and check out their available resources.
  • Educate yourself about the Freedom of Information Act and its implications in the UK. Understand how these laws work and how they contribute to universal access to information.
  • Dedicate some time to expanding your knowledge on topics that interest you. Utilize online resources, digital libraries, and databases to access information that can help you stay informed.

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