Friday, September 28, 2007

Whaddaya Know?

Who knew? Today, September 28 is International Right to Know Day, and the beginning of International Right to know WEEK. Here's the skinny, from the Office of the Canadian Information Commissioner:

Around the world, September 28th is celebrated as International Right to Know Day. This began in Sofia, Bulgaria at an international meeting of access to information advocates who proposed that September 28th be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide.

The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness level about their right of access to information under the control of government institutions. These celebrations are aimed towards the citizenry, a non specialized clientele.

“…to collaborate in promotion of the individual right of access to information and open, transparent governance. The group of FOI Advocates also proposed that 28 September be nominated as international “Right to Know Day” in order to symbolize the global movement for promotion of the right to information. The aim of having a Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of the right to information. It is a day on which freedom of information activists from around the world can use further to promote this fundamental human right and to campaign for open, democratic societies in which there is full citizen empowerment and participation in government.” (
The RTK week is celebrated in Canada to promote the right to information as a fundamental human right and to campaign for citizen participation in open, democratic societies.
Sounds like something bloggers should be getting behind, especially those of us on the left who have been complaining about;
  1. the Bush administration, the most secretive government in America's entire history,
  2. the Mainstream Media (MSM, aka the Corporate Owned Media (COM)) spewing administration talking points 24/7, distracting us with celebrity trivia, and downplaying the real stories when possible,
  3. the decline of the education system, due to everything from government idiocy like NLCB to local schoolboards being taken over by those who want your kids as well as theirs to be taught 'intelligent design' instead of how to think intelligently.
The scope of the issue as I see it goes well beyond just the Freedom of Information Act - it also encompasses such things as rules governing the ownership and use of media outlets and the right to know what multinational corporations - some of them more powerful than the majority of governments - are doing that affect you, your community, and your planet. "The Business and Human Rights Program is working with coalition partners such as Friends of the Earth to increase pressure on the US Government to disclose corporate behavior around human rights and environmental issues through the introduction of International Right to Know (IRTK) legislation in Congress." (Amnesty International)

Another way of looking at it is as the flip side of the first amendment right of free speech - the right to hear the truth is just as important. Too many people are caught in the trap of believing the gross propaganda spewed daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc., etc., etc... because that's what the multinational corporations that own the media want them to hear. The fine citizens of Greater Left Blogsylvania provide some balance, but reach too few people without the billions of dollars available to the major networks and cable channels. Even that voice is in jeopardy of being silenced with the fall of the principle of internet neutrality.

I think the truth-based community should grab hold of this idea and give it a big boost. Maybe a blogswarm or something, we have a whole WEEK to put together some good posts. Here are the ten principles on the right to know, from the justice initiative organization. Let's get started.

Whaddaya think?

Cross-posted from Les Enragé

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