UNESCO Director-General of Mrs Irina Bokova will give the keynote speech at World Press Freedom Day hosted by The University of Queensland (UQ) in May.
The conference theme is ‘Freedom of Information: the Right to Know’, and Mrs Bokova has said that Freedom of Information (FOI) "is a fundamental human right that UNESCO is specifically mandated to promote”.
"The meeting planned for the Day will stimulate high-level discussions among worldwide experts on the topic," she said.
"This will thereby contribute to advancing FOI through the sharing of knowledge and experiences on key issues pertaining to the adoption, implementation and usage of FOI legislation, among other matters of relevance."
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Paul Greenfield, said the University was delighted by Mrs Bokova's decision to make the conference a focus of her first official visit to Australia.
“Media freedom in all parts of the globe is intrinsic to a flow of factual information, which is essential if we are to identify and address the world's problems,” Professor Greenfield said.
“UNESCO's mandate to defend press freedom aligns with UQ's concern for academic freedom and our commitment to tackle local, regional and global challenges through learning and research.”
Mrs Bokova is the first woman to head UNESCO. As a former Bulgarian diplomat and Member of Parliament she is also the first UNESCO chief from Eastern Europe.
The conference will be the first such event in the Pacific, and will be a feature of the University's 2010 Centenary celebrations.