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The right to be information literate: the core foundation of the knowledge society

J Britz
P Lor


This article considers the origins and essence of human rights, the requirement that people should have access to information in order to participate in society and develop their human capacity, and the relationship between information and freedom of choice. Information literacy and the right of access to information are interrelated and interconnected. Human freedom implies not only the ability to choose (formal freedom) but also the choices people are able to make (material freedom). It is argued that information literacy, and specifically the ability to evaluate, and benefit from, information, is essential to both formal and material freedom. It is furthermore seen as part of the positive dimension of the right of access to information, and as such implies that the state has a positive duty to protect and promote the right of its citizens to become information literate.