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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Making Governmental Public Domain Information Accessible in Latin America

23-05-2005 (Paris)
Experts from eight Latin American countries will start end of this week in Peru’s capital Lima a two-day meeting to look at the practical implementation of UNESCO’s “Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information”, that was published in 2004.
The Guidelines is based on the premise that one of the ultimate goals of any society is the empowerment of its citizens through access to, and use of, information and knowledge, as a corollary to the basic rights of freedom of expression and of participation in the cultural life and scientific progress.

In support of this goal, more and more governmental information is being produced and made available through the Internet. Some of this information has restrictions on public access and use because of intellectual property protection, national security, privacy, confidentiality, and other considerations.

A great deal of it, however, can be openly disseminated through the Internet, libraries, and other means to citizens and to a broad range of development actors. Whereas the focus of most policy analyses and law-making is typically on the protection of proprietary information, the role and value of public domain information, especially of information produced by the public sector, is however not widely enough addressed.

The “Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace” adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2003 recommended the development of policy guidelines in this area in order to promote a broader understanding of the role and value of government information in the public domain, with particular attention to such information in digital form. Consequently, in 2004, UNESCO published the Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information.

As a result, UNESCO is now initiating several pilot projects in Latin America in order to assist Member States in implementing the policies recommended in those Guidelines.

The meeting in Lima (26-27 May 2005) – a first step for the implementation of the Guidelines in Latin America - will gather experts from eight Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) who will review the current status of laws, policies, mechanisms and institutional aspects concerning the public domain information strategies of each participating country.

They will also identify issues, gaps and specific problems that require action, using the prepared by UNESCO Policy Guidelines as a discussion outline. It is expected that they agree in a preliminary way on specific actions that should be taken as a concrete follow-up and develop a plan of action about the respective responsibilities for the implementation of the Policy Guidelines at national level.
Related themes/countries

      · Peru
      · Public Domain Information: News Archives 2005
      · Latin America/Caribbean: News Archive 2005
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