Africa marks International Day for Universal Access to Information at Internet Freedom forum

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Public and private stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa are marking International Day for Universal Access  to Information (IDUAI) during the second day of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica).

International Day for Universal Access to Information, celebrated on 28th September, is a day established by UNESCO and calls for the ensuring of public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.

This year marks the second year it is being celebrated after launching in 2016.

Universal access to information is bound up with the right to seek and receive information, which is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. It is covered by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

FIFAfrica, which serves as a platform to mark IDUAI in Africa, kicked off yesterday and closes tomorrow. Speakers and attendees deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.

Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo is one of the keynote speakers at the event, alongside Rebecca Enonchong, founder of the global enterprise application solutions provider AppsTech.

Also happening at FIFAfrica is the launch of the State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2017 Report, which gives in-depth insight and accounts of the state of internet freedom on the continent.

In 2017, the report looks at the grey area that telecommunication service providers navigate when trying to remain profitable and meet their clients’ demands while adhering to legal obligations to the state – often at the cost of users’ freedom of expression and the right to privacy and to access information.

“Access to information is not only a goal in itself; it is also a key contributor to the realization of all other Sustainable Development goals. It is therefore crucial that we continue our efforts to ensure that every woman and man enjoys full access to information,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.