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  • Writer's pictureMichaela Jamelska

The Right to Know in the digital age

September 28 is a reminder for us that we have The Right To Know. A few years ago, the freedom information organization came together and highlighted the importance of access to information for all people and the benefits of openness and transparency.

In 2015, UNESCO declared that the International Day for Universal Access will be marked and celebrated on 28 September every year. In 2019, the 74th UN General Assembly proclaimed 28 September as the International Day for Universal Access to Information at the UN level The UN says that the objective is to accelerate sustainable solutions aimed at reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by mobilizing governments, civil society, and people to take ownership and contribute to SDG 16 (Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies). (United Nations)

As citizens, we all have the right to information which makes us participate in democratic governance. Access to accurate information has become a basic human right and the principle of democracy. It is not only essential to improve the transparency of governance but also reduce false information. Social media brought a massive change in terms of information. The information and misinformation are jumping on us from each feed and comment on social media. In most of the countries, we certainly do get access to information, I would even say we are swamped by information like a huge avalanche every day and I even feel sometimes I don't even want to know.

In all seriousness now, the right to know and access information is a luxury that many countries and citizens still do not have. Look at countries such as China, Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, and others whose citizens live in regimes where the right to know does not exist.

Said that this short article is not only a reminder that you should know your rights such as the right-to-know but also emphasize the importance of the right information.

Social media made a great change bringing a tool into the hands of the public but as it is our right-to-know, it is also our duty to verify the information, critically think about what we read or listen to, check the sources, and then draw a conclusion. We tend to fall into the rabbit hole of the massive amount of random information which we either take for granted or question and disagree with the information but we form our opinions based on our judgment rather than facts and research.

Finally, what would be the point of the right to know if what you know is incorrect?

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