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Celebration of the International Day of Universal Access to Information

ByWebmaster

Nov 9, 2023

BUJUMBURA, November 9th (ABP) – The Ministry of Communication, Information Technologies and Media organized, on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, in Bujumbura, the ceremonies to celebrate the International Day of Universal Access to the Information.

On that occasion, Minister Léocadie Ndacayisaba announced that since 2015, the September 28 has been proclaimed by UNESCO, International Day of Universal Access to Information, in order to promote freedom of expression and press as well as free and reliable information. This year, the day focused on “the importance of the online space for access to information”. This theme is so interesting, she said, because Burundi is aware that social media are now inundating the communication world in an unavoidable way.

Minister Ndacayisaba also indicated that this day will offer an opportunity to take a retrospective look at the state of play of the right of access to information in Burundi and to discuss the different actions to be undertaken and those already undertaken by the Government of Burundi to promote the right of universal access to information.

“The access to information that we are celebrating today is a collective right of all Burundians, a right that goes hand in hand with good governance and an essential pillar that allows the free flow of information and which advances the promotion and protection of human rights”, said Minister Ndacayisaba.

                                                                                                                    View of the participants

She considered that the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information comes at a time when Burundi is already committed to promoting the right of access to information, in order to strengthen good governance, good management of information, transparency and citizen participation in good management of public affairs. This desire is materialized, according to her, by various stages already completed in the process of implementing the specific law on access to information. She mentioned, by way of example, the various national consultations of stakeholders which are already carried out by the Government of Burundi through the ministry in charge of communication with the support of UNESCO, where they managed to produce the draft of the access to information law, which is to be submitted to the committee of experts for refinement and integration of the different proposals resulting from all those consultations.

In the same vein, she also mentioned public broadcasts where the country’s high authorities devote more than 6 hours quarterly or semi-annually to answering questions from journalists and the public.

For his part, the UNESCO delegate in Burundi returned to the theme chosen for the celebration of this day, 2023 edition, where he made it known that the online space is increasingly the place where individuals seek and share information. Therefore, he noted, access to the internet plays a key role in universal access to information. And to clarify that when people’s access to the internet is low, interrupted or restricted, this can seriously restrict their ability to exercise their right, including that of accessing information and engaging in the democracy and development process.

The celebration of this day in Burundi, he added, testifies to the highly appreciated commitment of the Burundian authorities to increasing the people’s access to information in all its forms. He promised that UNESCO will spare no effort to support Burundi in providing access to information for its population, while inviting all technical and financial partners to do the same.