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 here (scroll down a short way).
The National Union of Journalists chose Valentine’s Day to celebrate independent, ethical journalism, prompted by memories of a broadcasters’ strike in 1985 that prompted the BBC management to resist attempts to stop it broadcasting a Real Lives programme about Northern Ireland. Journalism academic Tony Harcup commented on the NUJ website about the importance of ethical journalism for society. Read more.
By January 2018, the number of journalists jailed in Turkey, mostly accused of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, had passed 150. Read more
Concerns were raised about efforts in Europe and the UK to tackle online hate and harassment, including by making social media platforms more transparent. As US writer Mathew Ingram reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, there was a risk of inhibiting free speech. Note that US law gives greater latitude on free speech, which is protected in the Constitution.
Parents and even editors are afraid to talk about what goes on in the family courts, a freelance journalist declared at a debate on privacy versus accountability in this sensitive area. “A sense of fear pervades the system,” said Louise Tickle. Democracy suffered, the audience was told. Read more from The Transparency Project here.
The Guardian reports that “supposedly” free countries such as Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Kenya, Poland, Hungary and Cambodia are joining totalitarian states in inhibiting media freedom. It says journalists now “self-censor, use pseudonyms or seek pre-approval from officials” before publishing. Read its article here