Defend Freedom of Information!
LET'S KEEP Freedom of Information! The London Freelance Branch meeting on Monday 10 June passed the following motion:
LFB notes Early Day Motion 80 (set out below) which has won cross-party support, urges all members to write to their MP objecting to this latest attempt to restrict freedom of information requests, and urges the National Executive Council of the NUJ to do all it can to encourage members and branches and other trade unions to resist this unjustified attempt to limit the public's right to know
That this House notes that the Government is proposing to make it easier for public authorities to refuse Freedom of Information requests on cost grounds in order to prevent disproportionate use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by some requesters; expresses concern that requests by those making moderate use of the legislation will also be more easily refused under the proposals; is particularly concerned at the proposal that the time which authorities spend considering whether to release information should be taken into account when calculating whether the cost limit has been reached; further notes that this proposal was expressly rejected by the Justice Committee in its post-legislative review of the Act; believes that this proposal will penalise requests raising new or complex issues which will inevitably require substantial time to consider; observes that the Government's objective will in any case be achieved following recent decisions of an Upper Tribunal that requests which involve a disproportionate, manifestly unjustified, inappropriate or improper use of the Act can be refused as vexatious; and calls on the Government not to proceed with its proposals.
The EDM had 50 signatures when we checked. To find out whether yours is one of them, see here to find out whether yours is one of them. If they are not, please write to them now. If you don't know your MP's email address, or who they are, visit www.theyworkforyou.com.
Our thanks to Richard Shepherd, the magnificent MP for the 18th Century and for the Rights of (wo)Man, independently of his Party, for proposing this EDM.