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South-Asian countries raise awareness about freedom of information

05-05-2010 (New Delhi)
UNESCO’s Office in New Delhi commemorated World Press Freedom Day on 3 May with the South-Asian regional consultation on Freedom of Expression: The Right to Know. The meeting was organized in cooperation with the Department of Information of the Maldives government in Male on 3 and 4 May.
The consultation focused on the right to information in South Asia, its significance as a monitoring tool for transparency and accountability, and as an empowerment tool for communities.

The right to information is recognised as a fundamental right, but it requires the backing of governments, the civil society, the media and the judiciary. All these actors were represented at the regional consultation. They came from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Participants shared experiences, information and best practices and discussed ways in which South-Asian information institutions may be strengthened.

Armoogum Parsuramen, Director of UNESCO’s Office in New Delhi, emphasized in his opening speech the significance of freedom of information in a globalized digital world. He also stressed the importance for governmental agencies to publish and for citizens to access information in order to prevent corruption and to increase accountability.

The consultation culminated in the launch by the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, of a series of initiatives to encourage journalistic excellence in local media, such as a package of training workshops for media professionals and an award for the best journalist of the year.
Related themes/countries

      · Asia and the Pacific
      · India
      · Weekly newsletter
      · Freedom of Information
      · World Press Freedom Day 2010
      · WPFD 2010: UNESCO New Delhi Office
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