International Day for Universal Access to Information
28 September is the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), and this year’s theme focuses on the importance of ATI laws for building strong institutions. We invited two leading experts from the IFEX network — Gilbert Sendugwa (Africa Freedom of Information Centre) and Lamin Jahateh (Gambia Press Union) — to join us for a special edition of our Africa Brief podcast, to discuss why ATI laws, and the Right to Information more broadly, are a critical underpinning for human rights worldwide.
Whether it’s on the global, regional, or national stage, IFEX members in Africa are world leaders both in pushing for strong ATI laws and in promoting the Right to Information more broadly. Indeed, today is only the 2nd IDUAI since it was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2019. This proclamation didn’t happen by accident. It was the culmination of years of advocacy, led by IFEX members in Africa and their partners.
No one has been held to account in 81% of journalist murders during the last 10 years, CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index has found. States with the worst records include Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico and the Philippines.
Four lawyers who represented jailed former presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka have been banned from the profession. At least 27 lawyers have already been barred from practising in reprisal for speaking out against the recent wave of repression in Belarus.
The right to privacy is further threatened by African governments passing laws heavily restricting the use of encryption.
Turkey: “Terrorist propaganda”, “insulting the president” the most common charges used to stifle critics
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey’s report on free expression violations during 2015-2019 notes a sharp increase in the number of charges of “insulting the president” after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election in 2014.
Filipino journalists and media groups have signed a statement highlighting the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitri Muratov; and how press freedom remains in a fragile state in the Philippines today.
Imprisoned activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, blogger Mohamed Ibrahim, and human rights lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer have been held in pretrial detention for over two years and face politically motivated charges.