Information (HLD 190)

28 Sept 2020

According to an article in the paper this morning, today is International Access to Information Day, previously known as Right to Know Day.

The article quite rightly informs us that on this day we recognise the importance of citizens having access to accurate, government-held information, and blah blah blah something else about government transparency.

What struck me from the article is that apparently they have a focus for the day each year, and this years’ focus is on the value of information providing transparency to build trust in times of crisis and beyond.

Quite topical this year, don’t you think?

I have this theory though, that no matter how much information and data is provided, there will always be elements in our community who will dispute it and counter-challenge the providers of the information. The media excels in doing this, but there are people out there who aren’t going to believe even the most obvious stuff.

Whether it’s Elvis being alive and well and appearing in the Home Alone movie, or the moon landing being faked, Prince Phillip being responsible for Princess Diana’s death, or the coronavirus being a hoax – there’s always conspiracy theorists for whom actual facts and figures are irrelevant.

So what information do we want to government to let us know? And would we believe them anyway?

On the home front, is constant factual information sharing actually a good thing? Growing up, my children enjoyed eating the meatloaf I made. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s yummy. If they had had any idea of how many vegetables had gone through the blender and added into the meatloaf mix, they may have never touched it!

As a mother, it’s often one of our only joys in life, to share information with the family on what actually has to happen to clean the house. I can have someone turn green by describing the toilet cleaning process, for instance. And we delight in letting children know – and never forget – about what mouldy food was found in school bags, etc. It’s these simple joys that make life worth living.

But would we also share information about where in the house the secret chocolate bar is kept?

Open and honest sharing of information when requested should be a part of all our lives, whether it’s in our government system or in our personal relationships. As long as our chocolate bars remain hidden.

By the way – what conspiracy theory makes you shake your head the most?

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