The Success of the Right to Know Movement
On Friday 28 September 2012 is the 10th International Right to Know Day and Access Info Europe is marking the tremendous advances made in this right over the past decade with a series of activities around Europe as part of the global celebrations.
In a personal reflection on the achievements of the last 10 years, Access Info Europe's Executive Director Helen Darbishire looks back to the founding of the FOIAnet on 28 September 2002 and comments that "Not in our wildest imaginations did we predict the successes that this movement would have secured".
Tracing the key milestones, the civil society activism, the contributions of key individuals, and identifying some of the challenges ahead and concludes that "It is truly impressive how the exercise of 'soft power' has contributed to advancing this right so that it is now both a fundamental right and a sine qua non of a democratic society, of an open government. We cannot be complacent as there are many challenges ahead... but on this Friday, 28 September 2012, we can also pause for a moment to acknowledge the successes, and that is something well worth celebrating!"
The right to know is a human right which is still evolving. There are over 80 access to information laws in the world and more are being adopted every year. New laws, good practices, court decisions and the demand by the public for more transparency are advancing the frontiers of the right to know. At the same time, in many countries the right is continually undermined by corruption, poor administrative practices, and excessive government secrecy. Civil society groups and individuals around the world are working to define and defend the right to access to information.
Access Info aims to keep the discussion about the right to know alive. Should people have access only to government information or public and private companies too? Should citizens have access to personal information about key public representatives? How much information should be available from international institutions? There are many questions associated with access to information. Through our discussion papers, by developing standards and principles, and by working to catalyze opportunities for exchange and debate, we hope to keep the debate on the frontiers of access to information moving forward.
What is the Right to Know?An overview of the right to know as widely understood and established in international standards and many national laws.
Principles: Standard-setting work such as the development of principles and declarations on the right to know is a core part of access info's work. You can read here our general principles on access to information and about standard-setting in specific issue areas.
Get Involved: Endless opportunities to get involved and current campaigns for action.
Get Connected: Links to related organisations, networks and resources.
Events: Upcoming events about access to information and transparency organised by access info and others from around the world.