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Petition against FoI restrictions started on Downing St website

Journalist Tom Griffin has taken advantage of the newly introduced “petition the prime minister” service on the Downing Street website to ask Tony Blair not to go ahead with restrictions on the use of the Freedom of Information Act.

I have signed. You can sign here.

Griffin’s full text for the petition is:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Reject the restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act proposed by the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

The proposed changes will restrict the number of requests individuals and organisations can make, and allow Government Departments to include ‘reading time’ in fees calculations, greatly increasing the scope for obstruction of legitimate requests. As the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee concluded, there is no need to change the existing fees regime. Indeed, the cost of the Freedom of Information Act is less than was originally projected by the Government, and the transparency provided by the Act can only benefit efficient government.

The Newspaper Society is also urging its member papers to campign against changes which could restrict access to information by journalists. Hold the Front Page has the story and an outline of the proposed changes.

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  1. Aubrey Blumsohn says

    No no. That will take away all the fun and value of FOI. Watching them wiggle and worm and lie their way out of straightforward answering using exemptions, restrictions and loopholes and confidentiality clauses is generally more revealing than the straightforward answering.

    The very aim of FOI is to illuminate lack of transparency where things should have been transparent in the first place.

    Nice example of FOI here
    http://scientific-misconduct.blogspot.com/2006/10/state-secrets-and-mhra-secret-1.html

    State secrets and the MHRA

    Aubrey

  2. The Green Ribbon says

    Department of Constitutional Affairs. Meanwhile, the petition against the changes on the Downing Street website has now got some 72 signatures. Among those supporting the petition are a number of journalists including Andrew Grant-Adamson

  3. Greenslade says

    no need to change the existing fees regime. Indeed, the cost of the Freedom of Information Act is less than was originally projected by the government, and the transparency provided by the Act can only benefit efficient government.” I have signed, and Andrew Grant-Adamson reports that he has too. Every journalist should sign, and you’ll find the petition here. If these restrictions are passed then stories of genuine public interest will not see the light of day. The FoI Act is already weak; it must not be allowed to become