Category Archives: Freedom of Information

FoI now applies to homes ombudsman and others

The requirement to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act has been extended to the Housing Ombudsman, the Surveillance Camera Commission and several other bodies. See the full list of new entries here (scroll down a short way).

For information about all types of organisation subject to the act, click on the FoI wiki.

Court says Minister’s diary must be made public

A reporter’s battle to see the diary of former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley went all the way to the Court of Appeal – which ordered the government to reveal nearly all of it. It covered the period when the minister was working on a major shake-up of the NHS. The case highlights several reasons why Freedom of Information is considered important to journalism and the public interest. Read more

Battle over Freedom of Information

Talk of reining-in Britain’s Freedom of Information laws has met with a fierce reaction. Critics say they encourage lazy journalism but the counter argument is that they allow the media to uncover information that deserves to be in the public domain. Local authorities complain about the cost. Some key links:

‘Unfair’ to name escaped convicts, says ministry

A freedom of information request for the names of prisoners who were on the run, including killers, was refused by the Ministry of Justice because it would be unfair to them under data protection rules (among other reasons. including threats to victims). The justice secretary intervened (UK Press Gazette, May 2014). Read more

Note: this story was uploaded to Media Law Matters before the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation directive, which toughens up data protection law, from May 2018. 

Conviction stays online despite being ‘spent’

A man failed to have his spent conviction deleted from a news archive on data protection grounds. Newsquest said its archive was a valuable historical record (UK Press Gazette, May 2014). Read more

Note: this story was uploaded to Media Law Matters before the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation directive, which toughens up data protection law, from May 2018.