28 September 2021, International Right to Know Day, is a day when people around the world celebrate the right to access information held by public authorities, or the right to information. UNESCO recognised the day as the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) in 2016 and it was recognised as a general UN day in October 2019.
“The right to information has become more and more recognised both formally and in terms of attention and focus on it each year that passes,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director, CLD. “Today, it is recognised as a human right internationally, it is a formal UN day, it is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 135 countries globally have adopted RTI laws; CLD is proud to be celebrating this important human right with friends and colleagues around the world.”
The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) is undertaking or participating in four main activities on this day. First, we are hosting a panel on Reform of the Federal Access to Information Act: Perspectives on the Procedure and Substance at Right To Know Week 2021, a Canadian event celebrating the right to information (RTI). CLD’s panel will take place from noon to 12:50pm EST on 1 Oct 2021; a link to the event schedule is available here, and registration is available here.
Second, CLD’s Executive Director, Toby Mendel, is collaborating in a number of UNESCO events, including as a speaker on two of their main celebratory panels, namely Panel 1, Access to Information Laws during the Decade of Action: Trends and Challenges, and Panel 6, Access to information – regional perspectives and UNESCO Policy Guide. Many of the other UNESCO panels also cover fascinating topics, so please take a look at the full agenda. Toby Mendel is also participating in-person at UNESCO’s Jordan event, hosting jointly with the Judicial Institute of Jordan, in an event on The role of judicial operators in the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of expression and access to information. This will be followed up by providing a four-day training programme on freedom of expression for judges in Jordan.
Third, CLD is releasing a report about RTI implementation in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a series of test requests, the report looks at how well Canadian institutions discharged their RTI obligations during the pandemic. This report is available here.
Fourth, CLD is updating the RTI Rating page in two key ways. First, as we have been doing for the last few years, we are updating the Rating with new countries which adopted laws recently. We are also adding a new feature: the Ratings of sub-national entities such as Puerto Rico or the Kurdistan region of Iraq can now be found alongside our Ratings for international institutions. Many more subnational Ratings will be uploaded to this page in the coming months.
For further information, please contact:
Centre for Law and Democracy
+1 416 833 2918