Right to know
Note: This article is a stub; adding references and editing is encouraged.
Right to know
In democratic and representative government it is necessary to ensure that voters have the freedom to order their actions as they see fit. The right to know facts relevant to public decisions, particularly concerning the functioning of government, is necessary to choose democratic officers and representatives, to evaluate their conduct in office and for humans to consort with each other in harmony.
Freedom of the press empowers knowledgeable, capable citizens to choose democratic, representative government that protect their inherent rights and freedoms. Citizens and their representatives who lack equal access to facts cannot form valid questions, communicate political ideas and can be easily dismissed in public debates for minor lack of details. Knowing the facts is the first step to good decision making.
Government guided by secrecy and an uninformed public without the right to know can only facilitate farce, corruption or tragedy; in the void created by absent or withheld information, decisions are either made poorly or not at all. Government transparency and access to information are fundamental democratic rights that protect public safety, finances and well being and enhance enhance creativity, information sharing, and collaboration. Knowledge will always govern ignorance.
Natural Law and the Right to Know in a Democracy, Jeffrey J. Maciejewski & David T. Ozar, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2005.
Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-to-know Agenda: Recommendations to President-elect Obama and Congress, by the Right to Know Community, November 2008
Eugene, Oregon Toxics Right-to-Know, municipal law http://www.ci.eugene.or.us/firedept/toxics/toxiccht.htm
United Nations Environment Program: Environmental Democracy http://www.unep.org/ourplanet/imgversn/86/hazen.html