Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day for Universal Access to Information - Asia and the Pacific Regional Event "Open Talks"

Open Talks - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Date:  Thursday, 12 September 2019

Time: 10:30am -1:30pm

Venue: Plenary Theatre, Level 3 West Wing, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre



On the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), UNESCO will contribute to building inclusive knowledge societies by celebrating IDUAI in cooperation with the government of Malaysia. The focus of the celebration will be on leaving no one behind and the implementation of best practices by civil society and government institutions to provide access to information as well as the role of right to Information laws to address digital inclusiveness.  

The Open Talks event will be a side-event to the Next Big Tech Asia event on 11 and 12 September 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Big Data Week is an international event with more than 35 participating countries focusing on the social, political, technological impact of data, bringing together a global community of data professionals, facilitating the sharing of knowledge and new ideas about data. The 2019 edition of the event will focus on artificial intelligence and ethics of Artificial Intelligence.

Malaysia has engaged in a National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan that aims to promote growth of its digital economy and targets specifically rural and isolated areas in the country.
Almost half the world’s population is online, but much more is necessary to fully make use of the potential of the internet.  Those still offline look different from those already benefitting from digital opportunities and are disproportionately rural, poor, elderly and female.  The barriers to digital inclusion which require a holistic response include the lack of implementation of the regulatory frame, the lack of infrastructure, low incomes and affordability, limited user capabilities, and accessibility, discrimination of special groups.

Closing the digital divide requires intellectual, political and financial investment in social practices and infrastructure and making technologies accessible as it plays a role in enabling people to participate in societies as active citizens.  However, citizen empowerment does not follow naturally from access to information.  

The foundations of a knowledge society can never amount to technological breakthroughs alone, and another important element to consider is capacity development.  Citizens  to make use of the new economic and social advantages that it bring to citizens as empowering individual women and men requires not just access to information but the skills to transform it into knowledge.  Access to information implies meaning, appropriation and participation.  

The event will also adopt the TEDxTalks format with six speakers from Lebanon, Mongolia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia addressing specific including:

  • Best practices in investing in Infrostructures in an inclusive way, that promote multilingualism and local content development.
  • Implementing access to information laws and policies and diffusion of best practices, based on international standards;

The celebrations will be opened by the H.E. Mr. Gobind Singh Deo (Minister for Communications and Multimedia of Malaysia), Mr. Stephen Priesner (United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia), and Mr. Moez Chakchouk (UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information)


Ming Kuok Lim, Advisor for Communication and Information, Communication and Information Sector (CI), UNESCO Jakarta, Tel.: +62-21-7399818 Ext. 827

Jaco du Toit, Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector (CI)