On 27-29 October 2004 St. Petersburg hosted the International Conference “Information as Public Domain: Access through Libraries”, which was attended by over 120 representatives of public authorities, academic research organizations, libraries and other institutions from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Great Britain, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzia, Moldova, Russia, USA, Tajikistan and the Ukraine.
Having examined an extensive range of agenda items, the participants of the Conference hereby confirm their view that enabling access to public domain information produced by public authorities should become fundamental to the national information policies of all nations striving for democracy and freedom of human development. Public authorities, as well as libraries, archives and various information services providers should assume a primary responsibility for the expansion of openness and management of information as public domain. The mainstream principle of information management should be as follows: information produced by public authorities should be deemed publicly available, and any exceptions to this rule officially banning the said access should be justified, minimized and supported by the power of law. The national information policy and its legislative and regulatory support should be based on the presumption of openness of government information.
The participants of the Conference take note that any national information policy should reside on the determination to develop a knowledge society and a civil society. Libraries of today constitute an indispensable institution of civil society and an effective tool for building it. Support of the development of library services should be elaborated in national information policies.
The participants of the Conference take note of the need for meaningful efforts to implement the key documents passed at the World Summit on Information Society, i.e. the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action (2003), as well as the Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of government public domain information (UNESCO, 2004). (My emphasis)
Via Open Access News