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World Information Society Day

World Information Society Day is celebrated each year on 17 May to remind the world of the vision of the World Summit on the Information Society to build “a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society” based on fundamental human rights.

World Information Society Day aims to alert people about how information and communication can help improve societies worldwide.

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What Do People Do?

World Information Society Day promotes people’s awareness of the power of information and communication to build societies in which they can create, access, use and share information and knowledge to achieve their full potential. Organizations such as UNESCO actively take part in the day by inviting people to engage in various activities to promote campaigns centered on this event.

Public Life

World Information Society Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

The annual observance of World Telecommunication Day, which marks the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865, drew attention to the work of ITU and the challenges of global communication.  In March 2006, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 17 as World Information Society Day to recognize the efforts made to advance communication and ITU’s role in helping people connect around the world. The UN’s first World Information Society Day took place on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.

Prior to World Information Society Day, World Telecommunication Day, which was first held in 1969, was celebrated on May 17 by people and organizations such as ITU. Many now refer to this day as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, taking into account the UN’s observance of World Information Society Day. The purpose of this observance is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the internet and other information and communication technologies could bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

Symbols

UNESCO has not allocated a specific symbol for the day, although it uses images of modern information and communication technologies to portray the importance of the day.

World Information Society Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2016TueMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2017WedMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2018ThuMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2019FriMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2020SunMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2021MonMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2022TueMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2023WedMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2024FriMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance
2025SatMay 17World Information Society DayUnited Nations observance

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