The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” has launched a media campaign on the importance of the right of access to information. The campaign coincided with the preparation of a comprehensive local and international advocacy plan prepared during the series of meetings of “Khaberni Alliance – the right of access to information alliance” which opened to all concerned organizations for accession purposes, to contribute to achieving its objectives in promoting the importance of the law among the various groups and categorizes within the society in Palestine, and to create a social culture on the right of people to demand access to information and question the public affairs, as well as to pressure the Palestinian decision-makers to adopt and enforce a Palestinian law to access information.
MADA has initiated the media campaign with the slogan “You have a right – we want a law on the right of access to information”. The campaign will last for two months through radio spots in cooperation with 3 local radios, advertised by billboards installed from the beginning of November in several locations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is in addition to the social networking sites which address and emphasize the importance of this right and push towards the adoption of the law. This will be in parallel with holding meetings with the decision-makers to call for mass activities and events to mobilize support, collect signatures, and petitions as well as urge various media agencies to support this demand.
This campaign comes within the framework of the ongoing pilot efforts and initiatives undertaken by the Center in partnership with several institutions during the past years in this field through preparing studies on the relevant subject, convening a national conference, and developing a draft law, as well as training journalists, media students, staff of the governmental sector, the judiciary, the Public Prosecution, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, where this effort is accompanied by annual media campaigns.
This media campaign, funded by the European Union – within a three-year project –fundamentally aimed at contributing to increased opportunities of Palestinians to their right of access to information and freely express their opinions under the title “A step forward in promoting freedom of expression in Palestine”, is considered an integral part of the local and international advocacy efforts of the Center to demand the adoption of a modern law consistent with the international standards / which is indeed the purpose of the campaign targeting the Palestinian audience in general. All groups have the right to be introduced to their right to receive and access information, the nature of the right, and to raise their awareness on the need to pass a law that enables citizens and residents of Palestine to exercise the right of access to information, in addition to spreading the spirit of transparency and accountability in the Palestinian public institutions and encouraging openness to the people.
Mousa Al-Rimawi, MADA Director General, has called the Palestinian government to pass a law that allows journalists and Palestinian citizens to enjoy their right of access to information so that Palestine can join the other countries that have passed laws in this regard, totaled to more than 110 countries around the world, including six Arab countries, especially that the celebration of the 252-year anniversary on the adoption of the first law of this type in the Kingdom of Sweden has approached.
It is noteworthy that Palestine has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). To date, no law has been passed in this regard and for the activation of the right of access to information. States parties to the Convention should proactively provide governmental information of public interest, and they should make every effort to ensure that this information is obtained in an easy, effective and practical manner.