Project Title: FOI - Freedom of Information - Every Citizen has the Right to Know Year: 2012 Funding Agency: Open Society Institution Project Website: www.shehri.org/foi
Brief Description: Shehri-CBE has exposed many tools, through public interest litigation (PIL), citizens’ help desk, seminars/workshops, newsletters/brochures, press statements, website, the lack of transparency and accountability within the system which thwarts the citizens’ attempts to get good governance. In 2007, we used the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, including an appeal before the federal ombudsman, and were successful in obtaining relevant information that was successfully used in a high court petition against violations of the town-planning rules. Since then, we have used it where necessary to obtain similar information. To raise awareness about FOI, Article 19-A, encourage people to use it, show its efficiency, show its strength, power and usefulness through various activities. (Just as HRCP has used human rights violations as a violation of our constitution) We want to show that by not complying with Article 19-A, the bureaucracy, politicians, regulatory authorities are in violation of our basic constitutional right i.e. “the Right to Information”
Understanding the concept: Any citizen has the right to access information and record held by public bodies, subject to some restrictions. FOI refers to a situation in which citizens can easily seek and receive information from the government department and public bodies.
In 1946, during the first session, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 59 (1), which stated: “Freedom of Information is a fundamental human right … the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the UN is consecrator”. This was followed by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948.