Digital technologies ensure access to information

UNESCO Office in New Delhi in collaboration with the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) organised a regional online event on the theme of “Leveraging Digital Technologies to Ensure Access to Information”, on 8 October,  commemorating the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2021.

The webinar aimed at highlighting the role of access to information laws and their implementation to build back strong institutions for the public good and sustainable development, as well as to strengthen the right to information and international cooperation in the field of implementing this human right, especially in the view of challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.  

Our region continues to experience exponential growth in the number of users who access information online, especially through mobile networks. This has ensured continuity in education, particularly during the period of the ongoing COVID pandemic, where millions of students are dependent on these networks to access essential educational resources. Leveraging digital technologies for accessing information is also important to enhance freedom of expression, cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as build inclusive societies.
Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO New Delhi in his opening remarks.

The panel further discussed about good practices focusing on developments in the region, how to strengthen transparency and accountability, the need of ensuring open access to data for the public good and building public trust by providing access to information, and its role especially in furthering the education agenda. The need for strong data based journalism, and safety of journalists was also discussed.

We must make educational resources universally accessible. At NDLI, we believe that the digital technologies have a very crucial role to play in making information accessible to the communities. An integrated, open and inclusive digital library can make e-resources available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Prof Pratha Pratim Das, Joint Investigator, NDLI in his presentation.

Other speakers included- Sanjoy Hazarika, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI); Madhu Parhar, Director, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA); Sherine Xavier, Director, The Social Architects (TSA). The session was moderated by senior journalist and founder-editor of Go News, Pankaj Pachauri.

The panel deliberated on the timeliness of the topic and called for affordable and meaningful access to the internet, digital public goods, the future of education, and the need for regional and global policy cooperation.