Show Your Support

Respond

 The NMA strongly encourages all member publishers and supporters of FOI to respond to the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information's consultation which has a deadline of 20 November. The NMA believes the consultation represents a grave threat to important FOI legislation which is used by newspapers, charities, NGOs, and members of the public on a daily basis. The documents below are designed to assist you in your response: 

The NMA was one of 140 press and campaign bodies who signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him not to weaken the FOI Act. The letter received a response from Matthew Hancock, the Cabinet Office Minister responsible for FOI. 

You can also write to Mr Hancock directly: 

The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
Correspondence Team
70 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2AS
publiccorrespondence@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

in your letter you could say: 

  • Emphasise that FOI has been tremendous force for good. It is about the public’s right to know. It has led to more and better information being made public about government and public services at local and national level. FOI has been used to reveal the scandal of 15-minute care visits for the elderly; police station cells being used to detain the mentally ill; and the number of young people who go missing from residential care. Highlight your own paper’s use of FOI to hold public authorities to account and the impact it has had on your readers and communities.
  • Stress that the proposals under consideration, such as strengthening the ministerial veto, taking certain types of information out of FOI and imposing charges would be a monumental step back and leave in tatters this Government’s reputation for transparency.
  • Explain that you are writing to him in addition to responding to the consultation because there are real concerns about the Independent Commission. There is no-one on the panel who represents the FOI requester’s perspective. Its terms of reference and the call for evidence it has issued are entirely geared towards new restrictions and making it harder for the public to exercise its right to know. There is nothing in about improving or expanding the Act.

Press Gazette has launched a 'Don't weaken the Freedom of Information Act' petition urging the Government not to do anything that might weaken the Act. As well as writing to Matthew Hancock, you can pledge your support for FOI by adding your name to the petition. 

Hands off foi