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Iranian experts facilitate dialogue on Universal Access to Information in the country

A National Seminar on the Ecosystem of Universal Access to Information; Indicators and Infrastructure" took place on 14 October 2019 in Tehran, (Islamic Republic of Iran) to raise awareness on the right of citizens to access information and the need to pay special attention to groups with special needs.

The one-day event was jointly organized by UNESCO, the UNESCO Chair on the Communication of Science and Technology, the Allameh Tabatabaei University and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO.

The National Seminar was opened by Dr Khaniki, the Scientific Secretary of the Seminar and the Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair on the Communication of Science and Technology who stated “To access information we need more than only technological infrastructure, we also have to consider social, cultural and legal indicators”. He continued by accentuating the importance of interdisciplinary communication on the issue of access to information.

The the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, Mr Cvetkovski quoted Aristotle: "All human beings by nature desire to know" and to know, you have to have access to information" and highlighted UNESCO's activities and projects in the field of access to information.  The importance of these activities and projects to address the digital divide and the prerequisite of policies and legislation in accessing public information were also emphasized. Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Dr Hossein Salimi, President of Allameh Tabatabaei University, Dr Saeed Reza Ameli, Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Dr Abolhassan Firouzabadi, Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and Ms Laya Joneidi, Vice-President for Legal Affairs. 

This event was an important step in bringing together experts from different disciplines such as health, culture, law, representing civil society, academia and government to take stock of the universal access to information ecosystem in Iran.

The event ended with the presentation of a set of recommendations on the importance of empowering citizens’ to access information and the necessity for transparency and managing conflict of interest in accessing information.

Since 2016, UNESCO marks 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information”, following the adoption of the 38 C/Resolution 57 declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information.