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The right to know - transparency and openness in public life

Published: 14.10.2016

The right to know – transparency and openness in public life

To mark the 250th anniversary of the 1766 Freedom of Information Act, the University of Helsinki hosts a symposium to discuss the meaning and realization of citizens’ information rights, transparency and openness in contemporary public life.

The Nordic countries are often seen as pioneers in government openness, not only in terms of historical legacy but also contemporary policies, such as open data initiatives. The existing norms and practices of publicity, however, are constantly challenged by social and technological changes. With new media platforms and data leaks, but also new global trends towards secrecy, security and surveillance, tensions around citizens’ information rights keep emerging in public. In science policy, promotion of open science and publishing are also crucial issues today. What does “the right to know” mean, where did it come from, and what are its main threats today?
The keynote speaker of the symposium is Professor Michael Schudson (Columbia University), whose most recent book, The Rise of the Right to Know discusses the emergence of norms and practices associated with openness and transparency in American politics and culture after 1945. Other speakers at the symposium discuss both historical and current interpretations of freedom of thought, publicity and transparency from global, European and Finnish perspectives.

The symposium is organized by the discipline of Media and Communication Studies together with the Open University, University of Helsinki. The symposium is part of the lecture courses “Media structures and policies” and “Introduction to Global Media and Communication”. The language of the symposium is English, except for the final panel discussion, which is in Finnish.
Attendance is open to all.
To register
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Programme - Ohjelma
Friday 14.10.2016 at 9-13
Helsingin yliopisto, päärakennus/ University of Helsinki, Main building, Fabianinkatu 33, 2nd floor, Sali 1
Chair Salli Hakala & Kari Karppinen
9.00 Welcome - Avaussanat: Open knowledge and science - Tiedon ja tieteen avoimuus
Director PhD Jaakko Kurhila, University of Helsinki, Open university
9.15-10.00 The Right to Know professor Michael Schudson
10.00-10.20 Comments PhD student, researcher Laura Juntunen and postdoctoral researcher Gwenaëlle Bauvois, University of Helsinki
10.20 – 10.50 Freedom of thought from European perspective - Ajattelun vapaus – Eurooppalaisen sivistyksen juurilla
Professor of European history Laura Kolbe
Discussion - keskustelu
10.50-11.10 Coffee
11.10-11.30 Publics in Finnish democracy – Julkisuus ja suomalaisen demokratian taustat ja nykytila
professor of Media and Communication Policy, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Hannu Nieminen
11.30-11.45 Government transparency in a global age - Hallinnon läpinäkyvyys globaalissa maailmassa Associate Professor Tero Erkkilä
Discussion - keskustelu
12.00-13.00 Paneeli: Kunnes julkisuudessa räjähtää – Charlie Hebdo, Edward Snowden, Panama-papers … (In Finnish)
Keskustelussa mukana mm. julkisuuden ja politiikan tutkijoita yliopistolta sekä toimittajia, viestinnän ammattilaisia, poliitikkoja: europarlamentaarikko Heidi Hautala; professori, HY Heikki Hiilamo; valtiovarainministeriön viestintäjohtaja Liinu Lehto; ProComin toimitusjohtaja Elina Melgin; professori, HY Olli Mäenpää; toimittaja, Yle Salla Vuorikoski. Paneelin puheenjohtaja yliopistonlehtori, HY Salli Hakala.

Järjestäjät – Organizers
Viestinnän oppiaine/Media and Communication Studies, Avoin yliopisto/Open University
Master's Degree Programme in Media and Global Communication (MGC), University of Helsinki