Niger/Celebration of the International Day of Access to Information: Raising awareness of national institutions and citizens on the importance of access to information
The President of the Superior Council of Communication, Dr. Kabirou Sani, presided yesterday morning in Niamey, the launch of the open day for the organization of the celebration of the World Access to Information Day. The theme of this edition is "artificial intelligence, e-governance and access to information". This event aims to promote the sharing of information and to bring together republican institutions, civil society organizations and citizens.
The 28th of September of each year, has been decreed, international day of universal access to information, by the information, by the general conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). For the president of the CSC, UNESCO wants, through this axis, to urge Member States that have not yet done so, to adopt the laws of access to information, to encourage those who have done so, to implement them.Through this axis, UNESCO wants to urge Member States that have not yet done so to adopt access to information laws, to encourage those that have, to implement them and to make free access to public data an indispensable indicator of governance and a requirement to which any nation that wants to be democratic must adhere. Dr. Kabirou Sani recalled that Niger has adopted since 2011, a charter of access to public information and administrative documents to ensure the public's right to information.
The objective of the commemoration of this day for the third time in Niger, and which is in its 7th edition worldwide, he said, is to popularize the date of September 28 as international day of access to information. A topical theme that will allow the various actors gathered to discuss the rapid changes taking place in the press sector, communication and governance.
As for the open day initiated by the CSC, added Kabir Sani, it is to bring together state institutions, civil society organizations and citizens and create an engagement between the various parties. Thus, the activity will allow to make known more the missions of the CSC, and eventually the expectations of the citizens who will express themselves through a suggestion box.
For her part, the director of the Office of Democracy, Law, Good Governance and Conflict, Mr. Asta M. Zinbo, representing the USAID Niger mission director, said that the right to information is a right recognized by the international community, because its respect conditions the realization of other rights, whether civil, political, economic and social. She also stressed that the U.S. government attaches importance to its realization because this right figures prominently in the legal provisions of the United States of America through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Mr. Asta M. Zinbo said that in Niger, the U.S. Embassy invests heavily in civil society, the press and NGOs to improve access to information and strengthen democracy. She added that the celebration of this day is also an opportunity for citizens to learn about several public institutions, including their functions, how they operate and how to request information. This event undoubtedly provides a space for interaction between citizens and the administration in order to create a constructive engagement.