The right to freedom of information


Freedom of speech is a very basic human right that is meant to protect not just the content of what we say, but also the way we express it, and the right to freedom of information helps to protect this.

Long traditions

In short, the right to freedom of information gives us the right to access public information, to protect our own privacy, as well as to impart ideas and other information through any channels we choose. Internationally, the UN General Assembly, through resolution 59, adopted in 1946, recognizes this right.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 also mentions this specific human right. In practice this means that people, regardless of their country of residence, always have the right to access information that is prudent to them. For certain governments this is not something that sits well with their politics, and so in reality there are large numbers of people today who are still denied this right. Freedom of information should ideally result in a transparent ruling class, as well as accountability from the government, as well as access to basic education for the masses.

Different practices

Red book containing Strictly Confidential data, with unlocked padlock and chain and a Freedom of Information Act legal document, which permits public access access to much previously Strictly Confidential information.

Today, close to one hundred countries have legally implemented regulations regarding freedom of information, although the specific legislation varies from country to country. Many of the countries that do not offer their citizens freedom of information also lack several other basic human rights. The right to freedom of information is closely linked to both the right to freedom of expression, as well as the right to privacy, and not surprisingly, the regimes that have a problem with one of these will fairly often have a problem with the others as well.

Working towards securing the right to freedom of information around the globe is very important if we want to fight tyranny, poverty, inequality and many other types of oppression that plague the human race. Being able to access and spread information is a huge part of educating people about their rights, as well as the ways they can go about trying to uphold those rights.

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