World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


'Right To Know' Just an Ideal in the Cooks

'Right To Know' Just an Ideal in the Cooks
http://www.cinews.co.ck/

By Rachel Reeves

RAROTONGA (Cook Islands News / Pacific Media Watch): The “right to know” is something media relish talking about, as it forms the basis of the fourth estate. Often people forget that as taxpayers, they should be talking about it, too.

Today is International Right to Know Day [September 28], and the world seems to be taking note – or at least paying lip service to – this most basic of human rights, which forms the backbone of good governance and democracy.

The purpose of the occasion is to raise awareness of, and remind people about, every taxpayer’s right to access government-held information about how money is being spent and how decisions are being made.

This year is the 10-year anniversary of International Right to Know Day, which was earmarked in 2002 by freedom of information advocates in Bulgaria.

Their initial meeting gave rise to the FOI (Freedom of Information) Advocates Network, a global coalition working to put pressure on governments to be open, transparent and accountable. Each year members of the network meet to share ideas, strategies, and success stories about the development of freedom of information laws and governance in their respective nations.

The Cook Islands passed its own Official Information Act in February 2009, using New Zealand’s legislation as a model. Hailed as the first Pacific island nation to legislate freedom of information, the government was praised as forward-thinking and pioneering within regional media circles.

But since its implementation, local media have been vocal about the act's failure to change bureaucratic attitudes toward freedom of information.

Cook Islands News managing editor John Woods has called media freedom in the Cook Islands “fragile”, and has referred to the act as "stillborn".

As the chair of the Cook Islands Media Association, he is a champion of the Official Information Act, but believes it has failed to transform ingrained attitudes toward media freedom in the Cook Islands.

“It's sad that we have to isolate and name just one day of the year as 'Right To Know Day'. It should be every day, and this basic human right should be engrained in best practice of government, and of civil society at all levels,” Woods said.

“This right is enshrined in every enlightened constitution in the world, including ours, but we are stuck in a time warp where knowledge is power, and power is reserved for a privileged few. The ideal would be a society where politicians and bureaucrats have nothing to hide, and where transparency is commonplace.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More Than Half A Million

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More than Half a Million People with Life-Saving Aid More>>

Israeli Plans To Expand Its Illegal Settlement Enterprises

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced Israeli plans to expand its illegal settlement enterprise by approving the construction of 2,561 units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos. More>>

ALSO:

Ecuador: Villagers Plan To Seize Chevron's $106M Arbitral Award

QUITO, ECUADOR, Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - In what could be a huge boost to their campaign to force Chevron to comply with a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, rainforest villagers plan to enforce a court order directing them to take possession ... More>>

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre


  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news