The Independent Information Commission (IIC) and the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in collaboration with the Carter Center have celebrated the fourth annual International Right to Know Day with government pledging to uphold access to information.
The celebration under the theme, “Freedom of Information In Time of Crisis and Recovery,” was held on Monday at the Monrovia City Hall and witnessed by an array of government officials, civil society representatives and students.
Susan White, former editor of ProPublic and keynote speaker of the Right to Know Day, explained that access to information helps in exposing corruption in any society, which must be noted by all sectors of humanity.
She emphasized that access to information also helps in making government stronger and helps in making people part of the government and must be considered through the rebuilding process as well.
The right to information, she noted, helps in unveiling dishonesty, inefficiency, activities, but also allows the citizens to celebrate the good faith of government.
She explained that access to information also helps in avoiding misinformation, especially in time of crisis.
Samuel A. Stevquoah, who proxied for VP Joseph N. Boakai, emphasized that the Government of Liberia is pleased to join the comity of nations in observing this year’s International Right to Know Day. He hailed the Independent Information Commission (IIC) and the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in hosting the important day on the right to know.
“Our action to be launched today has been developed from lessons learned and sharing of best practices during our most difficult period as a government and people,” Stevquoah explained.
He said everyone wants to be informed and wants to be kept abreast of the latest development whether they are affecting us or whether they are of particular interest to us, because sometimes the desire for information can be interesting.
Mr. Stevquoah noted that the media has an important role to play, not only to disseminate information, but to also properly manage information, adding that rumors can sometimes be devastating if they are not corrected timely.
He said the best way to have access to information is to ensure that everyone has good information that can be shared but noted that there will be times that required information will not be shared.
International Right to Know Day was designated to be held on September 28 to raise awareness of the fundamental human right of access to information and to further advance freedom of information legislation worldwide.