The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) launched in August 2010 and has grown into a movement centred on freedom of expression and access to information with a vision that seeks a country and a world where we all have the right to know – that is to be free to access and share information. This right is fundamental to any democracy that is open, accountable, participatory and responsive.
R2K is a democratic, activist-driven campaign that strengthens and unites citizens to raise public awareness, mobilise communities, and undertake research and targeted advocacy that aims to ensure the free flow of information necessary to meet people’s social, economic, political and ecological needs.
R2K focuses on three key priorities:
Stop Secrecy – aims to ensure security legislation and the conduct of security agencies, in particular, the policing of gatherings, is aligned to the South African Constitution and underlying values.
Information Access – aims to ensure that public and private sector information is easily accessible to citizens, and that people with information of wrongdoing and/or of the suppression of information in the public interest are free and encouraged to share information with the public.
Communication Rights – aims to ensure that South Africa enjoys a free and diverse range of public, private and non-profit media and affordable access to the open and secure internet and telecommunications.
A critical issue which defined R2K’s work in recent years is its ongoing opposition to the Protection of State Information Bill (also termed the Secrecy Bill). The bill has not yet been signed into law and is sitting on the President’s desk for over three years. Although this is an achievement in itself, the aim was to have it entirely scrapped. It therefore still represents a real threat to our freedom, and R2K remains committed to challenging the President to scrap it.
R2K has championed freedom of assembly and the right to protest as a fundamental freedom of expression issue – which is under constant threat of police brutality, intimidation and attempts to arrest people for legitimate protests. As a result, it has helped communities across the country to understand the laws around freedom of assembly and successfully assert their right to protest in the face of police harassment.
R2K was also instrumental in making the National Key Points list public. Its call for a public list of National Key Points came after years of complaints from civic organisations that the National Key Points Act has been used to undermine both the right to protest in public spaces, and the public’s right to know.
R2K has also played a significant role in calling for the cost of communication (airtime and data) to be lowered so that more people can get access to the internet and telecommunication services. As a result, Parliament has held hearings on the cost of communication, and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) passed various regulations to reduce communications cost, and most recently, held public hearings on the cost to communicate in South Africa.
South Africa remains the primary focus of R2K’s work, but it comments on access to information issues happening around Africa.
As far as challenges are concerned, the R2K is concerned about the increase in surveillance of civil society organisations and activists, and is constantly fighting against surveillance abuses. It has also called on the government to withdraw proposals to ‘regulate’ civil society and undermining its independence.
Click here to make a donation to R2K.