UNESCO and the Ministry of Information, and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and civil society organisations, are commemorating the 2021 International Day of Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) in Cambodia, on Sept. 28.

According to a press release of UNESCO, the theme of the 2021 IDUAI is The Right to Know – Building Back Better with Access to Information. It will highlight the importance of expanding access to information laws, and their implementation worldwide to build back strong institutions for sustainable development and to uphold the vision of information as a public good, as well as to strengthen cooperation in the field of implementing the right to information as a fundamental right. Furthermore, the global discussions on “building back better” remain context adaptive to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically impacted countries and societies around the world, and the right to information is key to enabling broader access to data, information and knowledge, and empowering citizens in their efforts to build a better future.

In her message to commemorate the international day, UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azulay, stated that “access to reliable information saves lives. Misinformation and rumors can cause them. This simple lesson is one we have learnt to our detriment in recent years. Whether fighting a global pandemic or supporting public debate, we need free, reliable and independent information as the foundation upon which democratic societies are built”. In her remarks, she called on Governments around the world to adopt legislation in this field, to ensure that citizens can make informed decisions, stay healthy and safe, and fully enjoy all our basic human rights.

To commemorate this day, UNESCO Cambodia will initiate an online campaign to highlight the importance of the Right to Information for the people, as a fundamental human right, to ensure that no one is left behind. UNESCO is bringing together the voices of Cambodian citizens with different backgrounds, to raise their voices about the challenges they face in accessing and receiving the information that they need to make well informed decisions and improve their lives. The campaign will also include the participation of the Government, who will communicate the steps being taken towards making information accessible to the public and bring together civil-society and media stakeholders to share their insights on how the right to information can help individuals rise to contemporary challenges and underline the importance of statutory guarantees for public access to information.

To conclude the campaign UNESCO and the Department of Media and Communication will broadcast a TV show online where citizens will be able to engage on the role of Freedom of Expression and the Right to Know as a driver of sustainable development.

As the UN agency mandated with the promotion of free flow of ideas by word and image, UNESCO in collaboration with OHCHR, and its partners and with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency is working towards strengthening access to information, freedom of expression and Media Development in Cambodia.

 

 

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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