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International Right to Know Day

International Right to Know Day was established on 28 September 2002 by campaigners from around the world to mark the creation of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network. Since then, on 28 September each year, Information Commissioners, advocates, human rights organisations, the media, public bodies, and the public celebrate the right to access information and the principles of openness, accountability, and transparency.

The purpose of International Right to Know Day is to increase people's awareness of their right to access records held by their government and other public authorities, and the importance of this right to an open and robust democracy. The right to know supports the public's ability to increase the accountability of public authorities, to understand how and why decisions are made, and to increase the transparency around public spending. Today, the Information Commissioner's Office of Bermuda celebrates International Right to Know Day with over 120 other counties with public access to information laws.

We celebrate the power of the people on International Right to Know Day. Around the world, the right to know empowers people to ask their government about the work that it does and the decisions that it makes. Without the right to know, a government or public body may choose to only disclose the information it wants to share with the people. The right to know ensures that the people have a legal right to ask for the information they actually want to know. The Public Access to Information (PATI) Act puts the power of accountability into the hands of the people. You have power! Use the PATI Act!

Use the PATI Act to learn more about how government and other public authorities are working. Every day, the ICO sees examples of people asking for more information about how public money is spent, how decisions are made and what results are being achieved.

In the last few years, people have exercised their right and made PATI requests for information about diverse topics ranging from email and letter correspondences to meeting minutes to government contracts and spending decisions. Some PATI requests seek documents that may only be important to the requester, such as requester's own personnel records or pension documentation. Other PATI requests have involved topics important to the entire community, such as records related to the airport construction, childcare inspection records, air quality tests, the 2 December 2016 pepper spray incident, ferry maintenance costs and numerous requests about major public spending initiatives.

Use the PATI Act to ensure that you are a part of our democracy. By asking for public information, PATI requesters help government and other public authorities remain engaged with the public. The right to know ensures that government knows it is accountable to the people on a daily basis, and not just during elections. The PATI Act protects your right to know. As more and more people use the PATI Act, it makes our democracy stronger. The right to know strengthens the role of the people in the governing of Bermuda.

What do you want to know? You have power! Use the PATI Act!

Press release from the Information Commissioner's Office of Bermuda

Information commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published September 28, 2018 at 2:12 pm (Updated September 28, 2018 at 2:12 pm)

International Right to Know Day

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