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Media4Democracy and EU Delegations Explore Importance of Access to Information

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Brussels, March 2019 – As part of the 2019 EIDHR Focal Point meeting in Brussels Media4Democracy’s expert, Bill Orme, led a symposium to empower Delegations to strengthen Access to Information (ATI) systems in the countries where they work.

Over 20 representatives of EU Delegations from all continents participated in the symposium and discussed how Access to Information – the right of all citizens to access information held by their government and other public bodies – can be a highly effective tool for Delegations to support in order to strengthen democracy, human rights and sustainable development.

Mr. Orme explained the importance of Access to Information both as a standalone target within SDG 16 and as a relevant tool for achieving all SDGs. He said,

‘Access to information laws and systems are tools that can be used in countries in all regions and in almost any political context to deepen public understanding of all national and global development issues.’

During the symposium, Media4Democracy presented information and cases included in their newly-launched Supporting Access to Information: A Practical Guide for EU Delegations. The participants discussed many practical examples of how Delegations working in diverse contexts could strengthen Access to Information, including through political dialogue, public diplomacy, advocacy, support to stakeholders – including government institutions – and through development cooperation working with media and civil society actors

In particular, Mr. Orme highlighted that EU Delegations could play an important role in supporting governments and civil society efforts in third countries to report on their progress towards the SDG 16.10 target for the first time in 2019.

Media4Democracy has released Supporting Access to Information: Practical Guide on Access to Information to aid EU Delegations in taking actions to strengthen ATI. The guide provides information to build staff understanding of the issues and practical information to support action in all contexts.  Downloaded the Guide here or request it directly from the M4D team in Brussels