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

 

UNHCR: More Than 300 Die In Boat Tragedies On Mediterranean

The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe More>>

UN: Egyptian Crossing Used To Bring Food Aid To Gaza
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days More>>

ALSO:

Extended Cease Fire: Gaza Celebrates!!!!

Images and video from Gaza.Scoop - Julie Webb Pullman in Gaza. Gazans took to the streets tonight to celebrate their victory in achieving the end of hostilities and the lifting of the illegal seven-year siege. Whatever tomorrow may bring, tonight was a time to rejoice! More>>

ALSO:


Iraq: Killing Of Dozens Of Sunni Worshippers In Eastern Iraq

22 August 2014 – Condemning in the strongest terms the reported attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held to account. More>>

ALSO:

  • UN Watch - UN Urgent Session on Iraq, Demands "Concrete Outcomes"
  • UNICEF: Honours Life, Tireless Work Of Richard Attenborough

    Film producer and director Sir Richard Attenborough was introduced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 28 October 1987. UN Photo/Milton Grant More>>

    UN: Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability To Battle Ebola

    UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news