The right to information is not well-known among the Moroccan general public. Very few persons beyond those involved in civil society advocacy or government are aware about their right to access information held by public bodies and how they could benefit from it in their daily lives.
The Right to Know Day is celebrated worldwide on 28 September. On this occasion, UNESCO – the leading UN agency working on freedom of expression and its direct corollary freedom of information – partnered with the Moroccan Network of civil society organizations for Right to Information (REMDI) to foster increased knowledge of this right among the general public in Morocco.
By learning about their right to access government-held information and using it, both civil society organizations and Moroccan citizens will be better able to claim their other rights and hold authorities accountable for their duties in regards to these. Using their right to information can help citizens enjoy their rights to health and education more fully. The right to information is also instrumental to advance women’s rights and gender equality, the rights of people with disabilities and of those belonging to other vulnerable groups, for example.
“People’s well being, including mine, largely depends on the quality of public services. Public services must be improved in Morocco and this requires access to information,” Abdelaziz Abid, from REMDI
On 27 September, a workshop was held focusing, firstly, on a right to Information awareness booklet that UNESCO is developing. The second part of the workshop was devoted to facilitating REMDI’s strategic planning for the coming year.
The upcoming booklet contains general information on the right to information in Morocco, the fundamental principles and legal aspects related to it, and its importance and impact on people’s well-being. It also includes details regarding the kind of information citizens can request from different public bodies, as well as the steps and procedures to follow in doing so.
The workshop also allowed for the exchange of experiences and best practices implemented around the world. Very relevant in this regard was the participation of the Mexican civil society organization Fundar, which shared with REMDI insights derived from the significant experience in right to information outreach and advocacy that exists in Latin America and the Caribbean. Within its work in support of democratic transition and transparency, justice, participation and respect of human rights, Fundar has undertaken important efforts to advance the right to information in Mexico, and is part of a larger regional network of advocates for this right in the region.
On 28 September, REMDI presented an artistic show that was organized by and targeted at young people, in celebration of the international Right to Know Day and mobilizing youth to effectively exercise this right in Morocco.
The organization of the activities above was made possible thanks to the support of the government of Finland.