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Journalists make 2,000 FOI requests

Two thousand requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act have been made by journalists.

Hailing the first month under the new system a success, the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer revealed that enquiries had been made for documents on anything from artwork loaned to Cabinet ministers to details about NATO agreements.

The National Archives has received the most requests, more than 600, followed by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

The 2,000 requests for information by journalists were matched by a further 2,000 from the general public, according to Government figures.

Two requests have had their deadline extended beyond 20 working days to allow consideration of where the public interest lies.

In what he called a ‘new era in the relationship between citizen and state’, Lord Falconer said: “Across the 100,000 public bodies covered by the Act, a huge amount of information has been released.

“We have sown the seeds of cultural change towards a Government at all levels that is more open, transparent and accountable.”

The Freedom of Information Act gives public authorities 20 working days to respond to requests.

A report on the first three months of FOI will be published in June.