The decision to celebrate and promote 28 September as the International Right to Know Day was taken on the last day of a Freedom of Information litigation conference held 26-28 September 2002 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Representatives of Freedom of Information (FOI) organizations from 15 countries took part – Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, India, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Rumania, Slovakia, South Africa, and USA, as well as representatives of international organizations active in the FOI field.
On 28 September 2002, the FOI activists established the International Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet), Access to Information Programme (AIP) being its co-founder and active member. The members of the newly found FOIAnet agreed to collaborate in promotion of the individual right of access to information and open, transparent governance and adopted a Memorandum setting forth the goals and activities of the network. Today, the members of the FOIAnet are over 200 organizations and civil groups from around the globe which exchange knowledge and experience and undertake international initiatives for better freedom of information standards.
FOI activists around the globe organize a variety of events and initiatives on 28 September to raise awareness on the right of information and to campaign for open, democratic societies in which there is full citizen empowerment and participation in government. Conferences, trainings, competitions, awards ceremonies, rock and pop concerts, theatre performances, movies, launch of info-requesting campaigns and new web sites, focused publications, etc. aim to further promote this fundamental human right and encourage citizens, journalists and NGOs in their search for government held information.
In some countries, the Right to Know Day elaborated in Right to Know Weeks. Music has been composed especially for the occasion.
In 2015, UNESCO declared September 28th as the "International Day for Universal Access to Information".
Access to Information Programme marks the International Right to Know Day by holding an annual Awards Ceremony in Bulgaria since 2003. We present the “Golden Key” awards to citizens, journalists, and NGOs, who have actively exercised their right of access to information. We also award institutions which have most efficiently organized the provision of access to information to the public and has been most open and transparent to citizens.
To dishonor bad practices of not respecting the right of access to information we also give an anti-award for the most non-transparent institution. We also give an anti-award for a most absurd/funny administrative decision on an access to information request.
The winners are selected from a large number of nominations by a Jury, including renowned journalists, civil activists and NGO leaders.
The organization and holding of the Right to Know Day Awards ceremony during the years has been possible thanks to the financial support of:
We also had the kind support of the business: