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Information is key to an effective democracy

Information Commissioner, Jennifer Dilbert and her staff have organised a number of outreach events aimed at educating the public on how to use the FOI law to get more involved in their community.

During “Right to Know Week 2011” (RTK), the public will be reminded that the Freedom of Information Law (FOI Law) not only provides them with a right and means to access government records, but is essential to ensuring that we live in an effective democracy.

Beginning on Saturday the 24th of September with a visit by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to the Market at the Grounds, the Information Commissioner and her staff have organised a number of outreach events aimed at educating the public on how they can use the FOI Law to get more involved with their community.

This is the third annual RTK week hosted by the ICO, which was established in January 2009 soon after the Law came into effect.  Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert encourages all sectors to learn more about how they can benefit from the FOI provisions.  “The ability to access information is fundamental.  People must be able to ascertain that government is accountable for its policies and decisions.  The FOI Law is an important tool that the public can use to stay informed about how their country is being managed” states the Commissioner.  The theme for RTK 2011, ‘Information is Key’, clearly and simply ties together these ideas.

Coinciding with the promotional week will be the International Right to Know Day on 28th of September.   Over 90 countries and territories worldwide have enacted access to information legislation and the movement in recent years has grown exponentially. A special seminar for Chief Officers in Government, including presentations by the Governor and Premier will take place on Wednesday morning.

Other events include student and service club presentations, a GIS Spotlight TV segment, and a series of articles in the local media.  The ICO will also be hosting several training sessions for government employees towards the end of the week.  A special service at Agape Family Worship Centre will be held on Sunday the 25th of September at 10am and all are invited to attend.

As part of the public outreach, staff from the ICO will be available to answer questions and speak with the public about the FOI Law on Monday the 26th between 9am-12pm at the George Town Hospital and on Wednesday the 28th between 11am-2pm at the new Government Administration Building.

For more information on the RTK activities, or if you are not satisfied with the response to a request you have made, contact the ICO on 747-5405 or [email protected]



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