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RIGHT TO KNOW DAY MARKS WATERSHED IN GLOBAL REACH OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAWS

On this year's International Right to Know Day (28 September), press freedom advocates had real cause to celebrate: freedom of information laws are now on the books in more than 80 countries, says FreedomInfo.org, an online network of freedom of information activists.

Eighty-six countries and autonomous jurisdictions now have enacted some form of a freedom of information law guaranteeing the right of access to government-held information, according to a new survey compiled by Dutch journalist Roger Vleugels for International Right to Know Day.

Latin American countries in particular are witnessing new milestones in expanding the right to know, in large part as a result of the landmark decision by the 2006 Inter-American Human Rights Court ruling that declared that access to government information is a fundamental human right, says FreedomInfo.org. Just last week, a law on access to public information was unanimously passed by the Guatemalan Congress, reports the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). It will take effect in January 2009.

Around the world, freedom of information advocates organised training sessions, filed coordinated information requests, and information seminars to celebrate International Right to Know Day. See what they got up to by checking out FreedomInfo.org: http://www.freedominfo.org

Also see the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative's new online resource of comparative analysis of international right-to-know legal and constitutional provisions, launched on this year's Right to Know Day, at: http://www.right2info.org

(30 September 2008)

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