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.