Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 12.30 p.m., Room F/G
Hearing a surprising fact may trigger someone to speak out, and partaking in public discussions often leads to new questions. Information and participation are two sides of one coin. They mutually reinforce each other, and sometimes they each even form the basis the basis for the other to exist. But how exactly does access to information and its quality influence and encourage participation?
Participation and access to information are human rights. They carry with them legal obligations that bind governments, and even define the central objectives of legitimate governance: securing free, active and meaningful participation of citizens in decision-making that affects their lives. Freedom of information is protected by law in nearly one hundred countries. However, furnishing citizens with information and creating effective participation is an ongoing challenge in many places. Access to facts and figures alone does not mean they are understood. And articulation in itself does not constitute a critical debate.
Understanding the dynamics between citizens’ needs for information and participation is an important challenge that concerns human rights, good governance and the media. What kind of information is useful and understandable to citizens? What is the relevance of laws on freedom of information? What roles do state actors, civil society and media play in empowering the people? And in which conditions does a passive media consumer become an active participant in public dialogue? These are some of the central questions this workshop sets out to assess.
The panelists are global experts on freedom of expression, access to information and participation. Their experiences include a number of innovative projects that have brought together human rights institutions, civil society organizations, academic and educational institutions, state actors and the media.
Senior Attorney, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, Organization of American States, USA
Foppa, Julio Solórzano
Memorial de la Concordia, Guatemala
Senior Reporter, The Daily Prothom Alo, Bangladesch
Sabovic, Vukosava Crnjanski
Director, CRTA - Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability, Belgrade, Serbia
Head of Eurasia Division, DW Akademie, Germany