The Society of Editors has held what it describes as a “constructive” meeting with Elizabeth France, who will become Information Commissioner on January 30 under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.
President of the Society, Belfast Telegraph editor Ed Curran, said afterwards: “Elizabeth France has a very positive view of the FoI Act. While we were disappointed with it, we intend to work with the Information Commissioner to help make it work for the public – our readers, listeners and viewers.
“The Government said the aim of the Act was to change the culture of secrecy. Editors certainly share that aim. The Act will take time to take effect and it would be wrong to raise expectations about the rights of access to information. However, we can remind public bodies that will have to release information in the future that they should set a good example and do it now.”
The Act received Royal Assent earlier this month. It will take up to five years to come into force. During that period, more than 50,000 public bodies ranging from government departments to primary schools will have to adopt publication schemes to be approved by the commissioner to improve the flow of information to the public.
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