On the 17th of November 2015, the UNESCO General Conference voted in favor of designating 28th of September as International Day for the Universal Access to Information. It should be highlighted that the resolution was pushed and initiated by African civil society groups and African countries.
It is noteworthy that since 2002 different countries worldwide have been celebrating Freedom of Information Day. The celebration of the day on annual basis was initiated by the Freedom of Information Advocates Network during the conference in Sofia, on September 26th-28th 2002. The said date in contrast with the International Day for the Universal Access to Information established by the UNESCO Resolution was of non formal character as it was mainly celebrated by Freedom of Information Advocates and civil society groups.
The UNESCO Resolution one more time emphasizes the importance and necessity of access to information in the process of developing truly democratic societies. In addition the document highlights that till to date there remain many challenges to be faced. E.g. access to information is still not guaranteed in many countries on basic legislative levels. UNESCO hopes that the given initiative will support the process of raising public awareness and will serve as a massage on the international arena supporting the need of ensuring access to information to the highest level possible. According to the statement of the organization the date of the 28th of September will have a symbolic character and on the given day different activities, conferences, public discussions and other awareness raising activities will be organized on the international level.
The Resolution invites all Member States, United Nations system organizations, and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations to celebrate the date each year by taking active participation in different awareness raising activities.
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