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Petition launched against Freedom of Information Act changes

FOIA petition has been launched to oppose government plans to water-down the Freedom of Information Act following the launch of an industry-wide campaign against the moves.

On Monday, the Society of Editors launched its ‘Hands Off FoI’ campaign with the backing of HoldtheFrontPage and Press Gazette.

Regional editors are being urged to write to MPs in their newspaper’s circulation areas to fight proposals to restrict the Act.

Now a petition has been launched at aimed at garnering support for the campaign from the wider public.

It states: “The Freedom of Information Act established the broad principle that public bodies must release information if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in it remaining secret.

“We, the undersigned, urge the government not to do anything which would detract from that principle.

“In particular, we would urge you to ensure that the Act continues to allow for the release of internal discussions at local and central government level when there is a public interest in doing so.

“We would also urge you not to seek to create any new veto powers over the release of information.

“Do not introduce charges for Freedom of Information Act requests or appeals. These would dramatically undermine the ability of requesters, including regional press journalists and freelances in particular, to use the Act to hold authorities to account.

“Investigative journalism is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes difficult to justify for news organisations which are under financial pressure. It needs to be nurtured and encouraged, for the benefit of society and democracy, not subject to FoI charges which would be effectively be a tax on journalism.”

You can sign the petition here.


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  • October 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

    The Commission considering these changes has been chosen specifically to make them – the ‘consultation’ is a nonsense. It is really important to remind the public of the many hundreds, probably thousands, of stories that have highlighted positive change as a direct result of FOI requests. If the Act is watered down, our country will enter a new information Dark Age. The ‘consultation’ deadline is November 20. Do please sign the petition.

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  • October 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Through their parsimony the big regional media group owners have done more to restrict their readers’ access to knowing what their councils, MPs, Government and quangos get up to and hold them to account than these changes to the FOI Act will.

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