This day is an opportunity to promote the guarantee and full exercise of this right, based on public policies that foster access to information, training for the personnel of the institutions that must provide it, and educational and social awareness actions. Universal access to information means that everyone has the right to seek, receive and disseminate it. This right is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. The media play a crucial role in informing the public about topics of interest, but they also rely on the ability to seek and receive information. Therefore, the right to universal access to it is also linked to the right to freedom of the press.
On November 17, 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially declared September 28 as International Day for Universal Access to Information. A few decades ago this celebration was known as the International Right to Know Day and in 2012 the International of Civil Society Defenders changed the name to the one later instituted by UNESCO. Subsequently, the United Nations also proclaimed this date in 2019, through the 74th General Assembly.
The theme for this 2021 is “The right to Know: Rebuild better with access to information”. It highlights the role of access to information laws and their enforcement in rebuilding strong institutions for the public good and sustainable development. They also serve to reinforce the right to information and international cooperation in the field of application of this fundamental human right.