Human Rights: The Access to Information

Introduction

1Human rights can be defined as the basic rights and the various human freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. It is through such basic needs and freedoms which are entitled to human beings that they feel free to act according to their wishes with no restriction. Examples of such basic needs include the right to speak, the right to access information, the right to life, right to liberty among other human rights. It’s through these rights that human beings are supposed to be given the right freedom to air their own views no matter right or wrong. So, it’s out of the issue of human rights and the various human rights which are supposed to be accorded to human beings that have led to the growing debate on whether access to information is human rights. Through the paper, am going to give arguments for and arguments against this topic so that one can be in a position to make the correct choice out of the many arguments.

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Arguments for

Information is something that is so much critical to human beings. This is because information can be defined as the ability to get the correct information about various happenings which might be happenings and such information may be related to various issues say the political state among other types of information. For example, access to information as many people can put it refers to the ability of citizens in a particular country to obtain information that is in possession of the state. This is one type of information in which people are supposed to access so that they can be in a position to clearly understand what is happening in their own country. This type of information is real information that is more practical and useful to all people living in a particular country. 2This information about the state is quite important since it’s through the access of the government information that the citizens will be in a position to make informed opinions in a known issue but not going but not simply being overwhelmed by the unlimited number of government propagandas. You find that most of the governments will tend to hide the correct information from their citizens simply because they don’t want to come up with the truth and this is some form of poor leadership since citizens have the right to access the information about their own country since they belong in that country.

Unhindered access to information, in this case, can be seen as a human right and also an essential human ingredient that people should not be denied. Intellectual freedom is a human right since you find that when one is denied the freedom to speak one’s mind, conceive ideas and later try to formulate his views, and expressing these views to the members of the public becomes useless. It is as a result of these that people should be granted the right to access any type of information so that the information can make meaning to the person who happens to see it. Many countries have put the right to access information as a human right and a good example is in the United States which adopted the human rights Act, Section 1 of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of human rights.

It is this Act that explains that everyone has the right to freedom of his/her own opinion and expression. This human right or even freedom includes the freedom for everyone to make his own opinions without having to face any interferences and also imparting of information to the media without any frontiers. It is through this Act that people are in a position to access information through the media so that one can be in a position to get to know what is happening around them. 3Information is very much vital since it’s through this information that people tend to learn a lot from it. A good example is the right to access information in libraries. This is a knowledge interactive environment whereby people get to learn more through the access of information got from these libraries. Information visualization has been described by so many people as a promising and beneficial technology. Digital libraries are good sources of such information hence you can see how important such information can be too many people especially learners.

Another source of information can be through the internet. You find that if people were denied the right to get this information, and then many people would be lagging behind since the internet is a good source of information. It is through the internet that many people learn many things globally and hence can have a good picture of what is happening around the globe. So the issue of whether accessing information is a human right is very true. It is our right to have access to information since information is a basic need just like any other basic need say good health. It’s through the information that one is in a position to learn more, make decisions on various issues.

Arguments against

4Access to information in some sense can not be a human right in the sense that some of the information is not quite essential for people to see. A good example to say this is that you find that most of the government information has to be denied to the citizen. There are top secrets of the government and when access is given, it will be revealing the secrets of the government. This is because if such information is revealed to the members of the public, it will lead to so many opinions by the member of the public. A good example is the security matters of the country. If such security matters are made open to the members of the public, then such information can be reviewed to other nations hence leading to insecurity matters. So in this case, then you find that access to information is not a human right and not every information should be given to the members of the public. Also, certain information can be quite misleading hence should be denied access. This is because some of the information can be misleading and a good example is the information is found through the internet. You tend to find that some of this information is pornographic and when children get access to such information, and then it becomes a problem since it will lead to deviants in society.

My opinion

Access to information is a human right just like good health. 5This is because the advantages for information are more than the disadvantages. So many people will tend to benefit through access to information and hence it should be a human right. It’s through access to information that people tend to grow through the many knowledge they have which helps to shape them. Information is vital in that it’s through the information that we can make good and important decisions that can make us raise our lining standards through recognition and hence it should be a human right. It should not be a constitutional privilege but it should be a right that should be accorded to everyone. It is a right just like any other right and hence quite essential for one to survive.

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Conclusion

Human right is a basic need in that when denied, it can lead to some form of misconduct. So in this case, information is important to everyone since it’s through access to information that people tend to learn more and experience so many things. It is one of the stages of human development and hence it should be made a human right. None can live without information since it’s through this information that we happen to learn the whole worlds and the real happenings which are said to be happening in the world.

Reference

Cassese, A. (1991): Human rights in a changing world. Philadelphia. Temple University Press.

Kaser, D. (2003): “The politics of open access”. Information today 20, No 11. Web.

Spedding, V. (2002): “What is best practice for open access”. Research Information.

Claude, I. (2000): Human right and their values. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Footnotes

  1. Cassese, A. (1991): Human rights in a changing world. Philadelphia. Temple University Press.
  2. Kaser, D. (2003): “The politics of open access”. Information today 20, No 11. Web.
  3. Spedding, V. (2002): “What is best practice for open access”. Research Information.
  4. Claude, I. (2000): Human right and their values. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  5. Cassese, A. (1991): Human rights in a changing world. Philadelphia. Temple University Press.
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