On September 30, the National Network for the Right of Access to Information in Lebanon (the Network) organized a press conference in Beirut to celebrate International Right to Know Day. The press conference incorporated remarks from the Minister of State for Administrative Reform H.E. Ibrahim Shamseddine, the Minister of Interior and Municipalities H.E. Ziyad Baroud, Secretary General of the Lebanese Transparency Association Fadi Saab, Acting Program Director at the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) Marilyn Zelin, and Lebanese parliamentarians Ghassan Moukheiber, Walid Khoury and Ismail Sukkariyah. The press conference was also attended by representatives from the government, syndicates, civil society, the media, diplomatic missions, and the public and private sectors.
During the press conference, speakers discussed the importance of celebrating International Right to Know Day as a day to spread knowledge about Lebanese citizens’ rights. Mr. Moukheiber noted that the day helped to shed light on the new legislative and political reform initiatives, which include both the public and private sectors.
Speakers also applauded the Network’s efforts to complete draft legislation and to raise public awareness on access to information and whistleblower protection issues. The access to information draft law was released to the public in April 2009, and H.E. Baroud stressed in his remarks the need for the parliament to adopt this law.
The Network was established on April 11, 2008, upon the initiative of the Lebanese Parliamentarians Against Corruption (LebPAC), the Lebanese Transparency Association and Association pour la Défense des Droits et des Libertés, in collaboration with ABA ROLI through a project supported by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Network is composed of 17 institutions and organizations committed to reform in Lebanon that have worked to draft, advocate, and lobby for access to information and whistleblower protection legislation. The press conference allowed the Network to highlight the importance of the right of access to information as the first step to implement a national anti-corruption strategy in Lebanon.
To learn more about our work in Lebanon, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.