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  • A slew of activities have been planned for ‘Right to Know Week’ which will be observed from September 25 to October 1, under the theme ‘Right to Know… Power to Change’.
  • Spearheaded by the Access to Information (ATI) Unit, a department of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the week’s campaign is being used to raise awareness of an individual’s right to access government documents, while promoting freedom of information as an essential ingredient for democracy and good governance.

A slew of activities have been planned for ‘Right to Know Week’ which will be observed from September 25 to October 1, under the theme ‘Right to Know… Power to Change’.

Spearheaded by the Access to Information (ATI) Unit, a department of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the week’s campaign is being used to raise awareness of an individual’s right to access government documents, while promoting freedom of information as an essential ingredient for democracy and good governance.

Focus will also be placed on the Access to Information Act, its stipulations and impact.

With the passage of the Act in 2002 and its fully fledged implementation in 2004, the Government safeguarded the right of citizens and other members of the public to access official government documents.

Highlighting the week’s activities at a JIS Think Tank on September 14, Public Education Manager at the ATI Unit, Prudence Barnes, said that the week will commence with a church service on Sunday, September 25 at the Mona Baptist Church, beginning at 7:00 a.m.

The Prime Minister’s ‘Right to Know Week’ message will be read during the service.

On Tuesday, September 27, the unit will launch its National High School Essay Competition at the Press Room at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Students will be required to write on the topic The Access to Information Act has played a significant role in improving accountability and transparency in Jamaica. Discuss.

“The competition will allow high-school students across Jamaica to become engaged in the discussion of access to information and the public’s right to know,” Miss Barnes said.

The ATI Unit will host its annual outreach at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre on ‘Your Right to Know Day’, Wednesday, September 28.

The day will be used to engage and advise Jamaicans about their fundamental rights, and to distribute brochures and other promotional materials on the Act and the work of the unit.

Also, to commemorate the day, the Prime Minister’s message will be published in the Gleaner and Observer, in addition to information on the ATI Unit and its achievements, and Right to Know Week.

A major highlight of the week will be a public forum on Thursday, September 29 at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Miss Barnes informed that the forum will be guided by the theme ‘Access to Information Act… Impact, Challenges, Opportunities’, and will involve the participation of representatives of government and non-governmental entities.

The week of activities will end on Friday with the unit’s staff appreciation event.

“So, we want to engage the public in the conversation, reflection and discussion as we garner information and positive input from them on matters relating to accessing information,” Miss Barnes said.

For more information on the activities and the Access to Information Act, interested persons can contact the ATI Unit at 876-968-3166 or 876-968-8282. Members of the public may also send an email to ati@cwjamaica.com or visit the website at www.ati.gov.jm.