Freedom of Information requests must remain free!
Today's news that the Tory-led coalition is considering intriducing a charge for Freedom of Information requests is bad news indeed, though not surprising. Transparency is antithetic to the nepotic way Tories like to govern. It's this same mindset that drives their resistance to the legislation on having a register of lobbyists.
We must resist this retrograde step. FoI must be strengthened, day on day, week on week - we must fight for its continued existence and to keep it free.
Paul Cave commented
Depends what the cost is.
A small charge to cover admin and deter flippant requests would be reasonable It might also ensure the requests are fulfilled, as there's many stories of such requests being shunted from desk to desk and put off until bothered into getting back to the people who made the request.
Who makes most of these requests? Can they afford the costs or not? My gut feeling is most come from journalists and interest groups.
This feels like a knee jerk response to something which as a headline looks terrible.
I'm not against a small charge, and am utterly utterly against a prohibitive charge. More information is needed on this before you put it to a vote.
Freedom of information requests are a charade and of no value to the public. What they do is generate employment for the civil service which is judge and jury in their own cases so have absolute control over the outcome. Truly searching questions can be easily evaded in many ways and opaque answers to questions be provided at great expense providing the appearance of productive work at public expense. I agree that charging is a good idea. MPs are the ones who should be asking questions but they do not bother to.
We, the taxpayer, already paid for the info to be researched, collected and used by OUR government department(s) so we already own it.
To impose a further charge for what we've already paid for is utterly unfair and unacceptable.
It's like the CopyWrong Cartel saying we own all Imaginary Property we sell and you, the consumer, own NOTHING after you've paid cash for our product.
So if the Beatles' songs you bought on vinyl is at risk of no longer being heard (for whatever reason), you MUST buy it AGAIN if you want to hear it on cassette, and buy it AGAIN if you want to hear it on CD, and then buy it AGAIN if you want to hear it on an mp3 player, blah blah blah.
Rip-off anyone? I'd think so, because we've already paid for it once - now these greedy thugs want to mug you in the safety of your own home.
And the UK's Tories idea they can do the same with info we've already paid for and own is equally unacceptable.
Save our beloved Freedom of Information Act (and improve procedures for faster delivery at NO EXTRA COST). That's how a decent service is supposed to work folks, or are the Tories now hijacking that process too - and thereby denying people our basic legal rights?
Patrick Lee commented
I also think that it is wrong that the current wording is seeking to bash one political party. If the proposer wants to maximise votes, I'm sure that rewording it to be non partisan is the right thing to do. if it does get reworded in such a way, I will vote for it, but not otherwise.
Neil Paterson commented
I agree with previous comments that this is not a party political issue. Please re-phrase!
Tim Green commented
I think the tory bashing isn't quite right on this one -- the main opponents of it are non-partisans in the civil service.
Meg Howarth commented
No partisan politics here, please. Tony Blair and former Cabinet Secretary (Sir!) Gus O'Donnell head are the anti-FOI cheerleaders.