International Right to Know Day on 28 September 2009 will be celebrated by civil society organizations from around the world. Activities will include conferences on current challenges to access to information, release of reports by NGOs on different aspects of open government including secrecy policies, transparency of political finance contributions, and results of monitoring studies as well as awards for transparent public authorities and for civil society groups working to promote transparency in their countries.
The year 2009 saw the following advances in the right to access information held by government bodies:
- At least 90 countries and territories around the world now have laws giving members of the public the right to ask for and receive information from public bodies;
- Six (6) new national Access to Information Laws come into force: Bangladesh, the Cayman Islands, Chile, the Cook Islands, Guatemala and Uruguay.
- The European Court of Human Rights on 14 April 2009 confirmed that the right to receive information from government bodies is part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression and information and is necessary for the media, NGOs and others to play a watchdog role in holding governments accountable.
- The new Obama administration turned the tables on recent reverses on access to information during the "War on Terror" period and in January 2009 emphasized that obligation of government bodies to publish information proactively without waiting for requests for citizens - something which already a growing practice in many countries around the world.
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