So, the commission that has been formed to look into Freedom of Information in the UK is worrying a lot of people, particularly journalists. From the selection of its members and lack of transparency to suggestions of vetoes and charges, there’s a strong signal of an intention to curtail the ‘free’ in ‘freedom’.
But there is an opportunity to have an input into the commission, through its call for evidence. This not only allows you to send your opinions on improving FOI to the commission via email, but also has an online form you can fill in.
If you take the form route there are 2 key questions:
- What protection should there be for internal deliberations of public bodies
- What protection should there be for information which relates to the process of collective Cabinet discussion and agreement
- What protection should there be for information which involves candid assessment of risks
- Should the executive have a veto (subject to judicial review) over the release of information
- What is the appropriate enforcement and appeal system
- And is the burden imposed on public authorities under the Act justified by the public interest in the public’s right to know
Whether you think it’s a foregone conclusion or not, this is a key opportunity to have a shot.