International Day for Universal Access to Information

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Related Hashtags#RightToKnow, #IDUAI2022, #IDUAI, #Information, #AccessToInfo, #Unesco
2023 Date28 September 2023
2024 Date28 September 2024

International Day for Universal Access to Information

International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) is observed globally to highlight the importance of free and open access to information for every individual. It acknowledges that the right to information is vital to empower people, foster accountability, and promote transparency in the functioning of institutions. The day advocates for laws, administrative practices, and other arrangements to ensure easy access to information for all, without any barriers or discrimination.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information in 2019, while UNESCO had already adopted the date since 2015. The significance of this observance for the people of South Africa pertains to the country's efforts in promoting transparency and access to information. The South African constitution guarantees everyone the right to information, outlined in its Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), which was enacted in 2000. This critical legislation aims to foster a culture of transparency, accountability, and openness in South Africa.

In South Africa, IDUAI is celebrated through various awareness campaigns, workshops, and events that emphasize the importance of transparency and access to information. Government institutions, civil society organizations, media, and education institutions actively participate in these efforts to engage with the public and create greater awareness of the PAIA. Across South Africa, International Day for Universal Access to Information is commemorated on September 28, following the global observance, to reaffirm the country's commitment to making information accessible to all citizens.

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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.
  • South Africa has a dedicated Information Regulator, which was established in 2016. The Information Regulator is an independent body that seeks to promote and protect the right of access to information in the country.
  • The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) plays a crucial role in information dissemination, making information more accessible to all citizens by providing radio and television services in all official languages.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Visit your public library and check out their available resources.
  • Familiarize yourself with South Africa's Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Read and educate yourself on the provisions and implications of this act. You can find resources online or visit the website of the South African Human Rights Commission for more information.
  • Participate in or support local initiatives that strive to improve access to information. This could include donating to organizations promoting access to information, engaging with community-driven projects, or volunteering virtually with initiatives working in this field.

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