Saturday, August 29, 2009

Forum on Freedom of Information

A forum/workshop on Freedom of Information entitled "Right to Information" was held in Visitation Hall today. This event was jointly organised by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) and Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

What is freedom of information? Why is it important? One of the United Nation's earliest resolutions asserts, "Freedom of Information is a fundamental human right and ... the touchstone of all freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines it as, "the freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Information is power. If disseminated, shared and made accessible to others, it empowers them. On the other hand, information or rather the withholding or distortion of information cripples persons and the society in general.

The objective of this workshop was to create awareness among the public of this basic right to information and to propose a way forward to facilitate the promotion of this right, namely through the promulgation of a Freedom of Information legislation.

The speakers/ trainers who spoke to the participants were Claudia Theophilus, who is a journalist working with Al-Jazeera, and Noel Dass a researcher at CPPS, ASLI.

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