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ARTICLE 19 highlights global laws on right to know day

ARTICLE 19 has spearheaded a global campaign calling on countries to adopt access to information laws. New tools to challenge unworkable policies, reveal hidden statistics and lay bare corrupt practices are being used to demand transparency and accountability from authoritarian governments, says ARTICLE 19 in a new report.

The report, "Right to Know Day: A Global Snapshot" provides a legislative update on different regions in the world. Right to Know Day was launched on 28 September 2008, and since then, many countries around the world have established new access to government-held information legislation.

In Mexico, civil society organisations and academics shook the agricultural sector by creating a website that shows the allocation of government subsidies and their beneficiaries to the amount of 171 thousand million MXN (13 billion USD). "The website showed that 57 percent of the subsidies were given to just 10 percent of the applicants, most of which included governors, business leaders and drug traffickers."

India's Right to Information Act remains one of the world's best Right to Know laws, and is used by communities to assert other rights, with people placing information requests in order to get the police to act or to get their social security payments.

After years of campaigning by ARTICLE 19 and its partners, the report says, a draft access to information law is being considered in the Ukrainian parliament.

However, restrictions in Egypt are on the rise and there has been little change in Algeria, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

For more information about other regions, please see the full report.

ARTICLE 19 and other IFEX members belong to the Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet). See http://foiadvocates.net/ for other activities held to mark Right to Know Day.

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