On the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birth date on January 15, 2021, a coalition of organizations committed to the formal recognition of the human and civil right to know launched the following Appeal during the webinar “Martin Luther King Day: from civil rights to the Right to Know”. The organizations are: Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational Transparty (NGO with General Consultative Status at UN ECOSOC); Global Committee for the Rule of Law ” Marco Pannella ”; Luigi Einaudi Foundation; Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights; Hands Off Cain; Italian Society for the International Organization (SIOI). The appeal is also available at this page.
Mindful of the need for coordinated action to protect and reinforce democracy as well as its underpinning values and human rights to shape the global and digital society of the near future, we, the undersigned, feel the urgent need to equip citizens with the Right to Know as to enable them to understand and evaluate the options and decisions made in their name. The affirmation of the Right to Know as a new generation human right is an indispensable tool in the defence of the rule of law and for the safeguarding of fundamental freedoms in an increasingly borderless world dominated by technology.
Faced with the evident confrontation between democracy and authoritarianism, the nonviolent affirmation of fundamental freedoms necessitates the cultivation of knowledge through informed public debate and a pluralistic and truly free media environment to restore the legislative function of Parliaments as well as trust in governmental and scientific Institutions. We therefore express our full support to the draft resolution “Freedom of the Media, Public Trust and Right to Know” introduced at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
What we ask of democratic Governments all over the world and in Europe in particular, is to act in this direction. We do so with the immortal words of Martin Luther King on the day before he was assassinated: “All we say [to America is], ‘Be true to what you said on paper’. If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.”