Papua New Guinea
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The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 28th of September as the International Day for Access to Inforamtion in 2019, previously known as Right to Know Day.

To commemorate the Day this year, the EU-funded Preventing and Countering Corruption in Papua New Guinea Project implemented by UNDP and UNODC (PNG Anti-Corruption Project) in partnership with Transparency International PNG (TIPNG), held a roundtable discussion on the status of a way forward related to the Access to Information legislative framework in PNG.

“UNDP is pleased to facilitate today’s roundtable discussion on the PNG’s efforts to progress the establishment of an effective Access to Information system, and to raise awareness on the importance of the guaranteed Right to Information for informed and involved citizens, and for transparent, democratic, and accountable governments,’’ said Mr Nicholas Booth, UNDP PNG Resident Representative.

The participants discussed three main areas – their organization’s role and level of engagement in developing the Right to Information framework, the challenges they encounter, and the way forward.

“Papua New Guinea is amongst 50 countries in the world that guarantee a right to information to the citizens in its Constitution. UNDP stands ready to assist the Papua New Guinea Government with further establishing an effective right to information regime,’’ said Dr Alma Sedlar, UNDP Chief Technical Adviser (Anti-Corruption).

“UNODC, as custodian of the UN Convention Against Corruption, strongly supports transparency and public participation in government decision-making processes. Freedom to seek, receive, publish and disseminate information is a fundamental pillar of the Convention that empowers civil society, community-based organizations, and ordinary citizens to fight against corruption,” said Mr Graeme Gunn, UNODC Officer-in-Charge and Anti- Corruption Advisor.

The Deputy Secretary of the Department for Information and Communications Technology Flierl Shongol said the public consultations on the draft Right to Information Policy will be organized in the upcoming few months for the Policy to be finalized, which would lead to drafting the legislative instructions on the Right to Information law in early 2024.

“The Department for Information and Communications Technology and UNDP, through the PNG Anti-Corruption Project, are working closely to finalize a draft National Right to Information Policy,’’ said Shongol.

“TIPNG sees an effective Freedom of Information framework as being a key integrity measure to empower society to address corruption.The greatest barrier to corruption is timely, accurate and accessible information. Freedom of Information is essential to ensure we become a smart, fair, wise, healthy and happy nation,’’said Ms Arianne Kassman, Chief Executive Officer of TIPNG.

The global theme of the 2023 Access to Information Day celebration is, “the importance of the online space for access to information.”