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RTI Principles and Declarations

Democracy without, transparency cannot be imagined. The term transparency carries two basic requirements, pro-active disclosure of the information by the government or public agencies with suo moto initiative and, public's right to seek the information. 

For promoting right to information, right to know, standards have been developed. Fundamental basis of right to information is founded on different principles. Declarations and resolutions are supplementing these principles. Agencies working on RTI issues have developed different principles. Similarly, different declarations are made for promoting right to information.
 
1. ARTICLE 19 

ARTICLE 19 is an international, non-governmental organization based in London established in 1987, with specific mandate to promote the right of freedom of expression and information. As per its expertise, ARTICLE 19 has been involved in the adoption and implementation of right to information legislation in many countries around the world. 

ARTICLE 19 has contributed significantly for the development of freedom of information legislation. It has developed "Principles on Freedom of Information Legislation" promoting peoples' right to know. 

For Principle
 
2. International Conference on the Right to Public Information 

Carter Center has been working for promoting access to information since 1999. It believes access to information is the corner stone to good governance and fighting corruption, and transparency. Carter Center has supported for the establishment of an access to information culture throughout the world. 

From February 27-29, 2008 Carter Center conducted the 'International Conference on the Right to Public Information' with participants of 125 members of global access to information community from 40 countries. It represented governments, civil society organization, international bodies and financial institutions, donor agencies and foundations, private sector companies, media outlets and scholars. The conference adopted an "Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information

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3. Budapest Declaration on the Right of Access to Information 

On the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an expert meeting on the right of access to information was held at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary in 12-14 December 2008. The workshop was co-organized by the Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) and Access Info Europe. 

International expert workshop on "Global Norms on Access to Environmental Information; A point of Departure for Improving International Access to Information" passed the Budapest Declaration on the Right of Access to Information. 

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4. Open Society Justice Initiative 

The Open Society Institute established in 1993 works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. OSI builds alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and freedom of information. 

Recognizing crucial role of the government for protecting and promoting the people's right to know, OSI has laid down 10 principles: "Ten Principle on the Right to Know" 

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5. International Mechanisms for Promoting Freedom of Expression 

The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) representative on the freedom of the media and OAS (Organization of American States) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, has adopted a joint declaration on "International Mechanism for Promoting Freedom of Expression" on 6 December 2004. 

This declaration focuses on access to information and secrecy laws. 

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6. Five Principles for an Open and Accountable NATO 

North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) was founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. It lives up the reason for which it was created, to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples. 

The great majority of NATO's 28 member states already have legal mechanism for requesting and receiving information held by public bodies which also apply to information about defense, armed forces as well as about foreign relations. Thus; civil society groups called on NATO to adopt "Five Principles for an Open and Accountable NATO" on 4th April 2009. 

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7. Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions: Claiming our Right to Know 

The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) is a network of civil society organizations promoting openness in the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank, the IMF, the European Investment Bank and Regional Development Banks. It believes that the right to information from public institutions and a right to participate in the development activities lead to promote transparency and can help to reduce corruption. 

With the recognition of right to access of information held by public bodies as a fundamental human right, set out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has adopted "Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions: Claiming our Right to Know 2003" 

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8. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters 

This Convention was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the "Fourth Ministerial Conference in the Environment for Europe" process. This Convention links environmental rights and human rights, acknowledging an obligation to future generations, with the sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of stakeholders. 

The Convention is not only an agreement on environment; it is also a convention dealing with government's accountability, transparency and responsiveness by granting right to the public and imposing obligation to the government and public authorities. 

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9. Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, 2009 

With the aim to achieve greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles of their common heritage, the Council of Europe has been conducting various activities for guarantying the people's access to its document. The primary purpose is to ensure the free access to the official documents to its people. 

For this purpose it has adopted a "Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, 2009"

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10. Maputo Declaration Fostering Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Empowerment of people 

UNESCO held a conference in Maputo, Mozambique, on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2008, on the 60th years of UDHR. World press freedom day concluded a declaration on "Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Empowerment of People"

This was adopted with the aim of guarantying the right of people in a domestic legislation and to prevent measures that challenge freedom of expression so as to make easy access to information seeker. 

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11. Brisbane Declaration: Freedom of Information, The Right to Know 

On a series of UNESCO's involvement on ensuring the freedom of information, it conducted a conference in Australia (Brisbane), on the occasion of the world press freedom day, 3 May 2010. The conference ended with the conclusion on the declaration; "Freedom of Information, the Right to Know." 

The declaration as a reference for UNESCO's activities in the field of freedom of expression and the right to information has focused on the right to information as a corner stone of the good governance relating it with the democracy. 

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12. Freedom of Information Resolution, India, 2010 

The member of the SAARC nation meet in Delhi, India on 2010 for drawing the attention to the commitment made by the SAARC ministerial meeting of 2008 to guarantee the appropriate legislation on right to information for all citizen's. The resolution is adopted to eliminate arbitrariness, corrupt practices and to improve governance at the regional, national and local levels. 

It emphasized that the right to seek and obtain information from government and other institutions affecting the public is a fundamental human right. The conference made a declaration on "Towards More Open and Transparent Governance in South Asia." 

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13. The Johannesburg Principles on National Security and Access to Information, 1996 

On October 1, 1995 The Johannesburg Principles was developed by companies, investors, civil society organizations and academics. This principle is widely known as "The Johannesburg Principle: National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information"

Principles focus on general rule on access to information, public interest in disclosure, general rule on disclosure of secret information etc. These principles were subsequently endorsed by the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression in 2000. 

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