Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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Young people reminded about the right to know with colorful paints


Information is power, and everyone has the right to information to exercise all their other rights. On July 2, a group of students stamped a reminder of the right to information with colorful paints on one of the pillars of the newly built bridge in Yerevan on Gevorg Chaushi Street. The street art entitled "You have the right to know" was organized with the support of the EU and by the Center for Freedom of Information within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Street art was made by 4 students of Terlemezyan State College of Fine Arts, who used their profession to convey an important message to their friends and the whole community. Not only experienced, but also young journalists participated, who, as a sign of journalists' participation in ensuring freedom of information, left their fingerprints on the wall bordered with OGP shades.

Eduard Poghosyan, a student of the Faculty of Journalism of Yerevan State University, a young journalist who participated in the street art, said that the impressions he got from the event were great, the feelings were interesting, because he left his print in his beloved city Yerevan, and engraved a responsible statement on the wall of the bridge, reminding his friends about one of the fundamental rights. "The significance of the event is, of course, great in my life, it was an important event that we carried out, especially nowadays, when information has a great value and mission," he said.

The main goal of the fascinating and colorful street art is to raise awareness of the Open Government Partnership and the right to know among young people. By participating in street art, young people communicated one of their fundamental rights: the right to freedom of information. Street art once again demonstrated the critical importance of freedom of information in upholding the principles of OGP and effectively fulfilling commitments towards open and accountable governance.

According to the organizers, the importance of youth involvement is extremely high. Being one of the most active, bravest, most mobile groups in society, young people are the most active information consumers. That is why the knowledge of one of the main principles of the OGP for young people - the right to receive information - is of irreplaceable importance. It is a key to fulfil and enjoy their other rights. This time, the organizers chose not to tell the young people about this right through lectures, standard formats, but used a method that is more understandable and impressive for them.

A press briefing was also held during street art realization. The journalists' questions related to the topic were answered by the OGP point of contact at the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia, Ms. Lilya Afrikyan and the President of the Freedom of Information Center Ms. Shushan Doydoyan.
According to Ms. Afrikyan, the involvement of the youth is still a problem in OGP. "This can perhaps be considered a starting dialogue with young people. We plan to make the interaction between CSOs and young people more targeted and systematic in the near future," Ms. Afrikyan said.

Ms. Doydoyan said, that the process of raising awareness about one of the basic human rights was the daily work of the Freedom of Information Center, but when it was the turn of young people, that work became much more significant, interesting, innovative and required colorful solutions. "Thanks to street art, we talk about this important topic with young people in their language and become not only the initiator, but also the direct participant," she said.

The event was organized within the framework of the project “Supporting Co-Creation Process of the 5th OGP Action Plan” funded by the European Union. Shushan Doydoyan said that with the support of the EU, FOICA has implemented various projects in this field where the youth is engaged, but the street art approach was being used for the first time.

The participation of young people in the decision-making process is very important. The right to receive information is an important tool to ensure the participation of young people on the one hand, and to increase the quality of that participation on the other hand. If the youth is not informed, their participation in the decision-making process becomes highly formal and it turns out that the realization of the right to receive information becomes a mandatory prerequisite for the empowerment and capacity development of the youth, as well as for promoting their effective and quality participation.

Text and photos by Christine Torosyan

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