Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO office in Rabat releases two new publications on freedom of information

UNESCO’s Rabat Office releases a comparative study on recent advances in freedom of information standards and practices worldwide, and a freedom of information practical guide for the general public and civil society organizations in Morocco. Both publications have been produced with the support of the government of Finland.

The study on the right to access public information provides an important update on recent developments in the implementation of freedom of information (FOI) laws and good practices worldwide. Through a brief history of the recent international and national contexts, the publication promotes international standards on FOI legislation and showcases experiences that contributed to more fully materialize the benefits of this right around the world, including by referring to civil society advocacy actions. The study is intended to serve as a source of guidelines for policy-making and public officials who have to implement FOI legislation in a given country, as well as a reference tool for FOI advocates in general.

This publication also highlights the link between access to information and the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality. By making reference to different cases, it shows that public bodies hold information of critical importance for women’s lives, related, for instance, to education, health, access to social programmes, loan opportunities and income-generating activities. Enhanced access to this type of information can positively impact on their well-being and participation in the public sphere. Furthermore, the study explores how access to information held by government can help expose cases of violation of women’s rights.

In Morocco, very few persons beyond those involved in civil society advocacy or government know about the right to access public information, its direct connection to people's needs and its utility for further accountability, social justice and the fight against corruption. Following the recognition of the right to information in the 2011 Moroccan Constitution, discussions regarding the enactment of a FOI law are ongoing, and fostering widespread knowledge about this right is crucial.

Produced with the specific Moroccan context in mind, the guide Access to information is our right provides general information about FOI as a universal right, as well as more practical details on the means to access public information in Morocco. In addition, the publication includes recommendations addressed to different stakeholders, seeking to ensure that freedom of information is effectively guaranteed in Morocco, as well as some good practices or success stories related to this topic.