Lib Dems claims FoI changes undermine investigative journalism – BBC News

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Concerns have already been raised about changes to the method Freedom of information (FoI) requests are usually handled in Scotland.

All Scottish government FoI demands are now published online after issues with late responses.

The particular Scottish Liberal Democrats say media have been put off making requests due to the fact rivals get the answers at the same time.

Ministers insist it displays Scotland has one of “the the majority of open and transparent governments within the world”.

The particular Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act provides everyone the right to ask for any information kept by a Scottish public authority, having a response required within 20 business days.

Some information could be exempt but an organisation should explain the exemption which does apply.

The Lib Dems claim the new system of open syndication is “devaluing the information”.

MSP Tavish Scott mentioned ministers had “figured out they could evade scrutiny, deter the distribution of requests and spike stories”.

There has been a line over Scotland’s freedom of information program after a group of journalists signed an open notice voicing concerns.

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In 06, MSPs unanimously condemned the Scottish government’s performance on FOI requests and called for an independent query.

In response, the Scottish government announced it would publish information released in response to FoI requests on-line from July.

Mister Scott said: “Ministers accepted a qualification of criticism of their performance.

“However, the only measure they have got really championed to address the fact these people weren’t responding properly to independence of information requests, publicly publishing many material released under FoI, is definitely fraught with dangers of its personal.

“Just weeks in to the new regime I am hearing through journalists that this is having a relaxing effect on their work. We need high quality investigative journalism to acquire the truth and obtain to the bottom of spin. These types of changes are designed to deter that.

“Immediately publishing information widely removes the incentive for media to pursue stories as they panic that whatever they uncover may immediately be made available to all their competition.

“This wheeze indicates the Scottish government can show up transparent while achieving the opposite. inch

‘Crowning achievements’

Mr Scott required an independent inquiry into how the Independence of Information system operated.

He added: “There is a great argument that information released below FoI laws should be in the legal. However , the best process for achieving this should be considered as part of a wider impartial inquiry.

“For instance, a short delay between the provision from the information to the applicant and it becoming published could make the system fairer.

“Meanwhile, the original problem of business scale evasion and the failure to produce information we have a right to continues to be. Just this week, my party needed to again chase up information which was asked for 17 weeks ago. inch

The Scottish federal government said FoI legislation has been prolonged to extra public bodies which access to national records has been decreased from 30 years to 15 included in a drive to improve transparency.

A spokesman for Parliamentary Business Minister Joe FitzPatrick mentioned: “This is an extraordinary statement through Tavish Scott, who is suggesting the Scottish government is now releasing an excessive amount of information, implying that we should rather cut back on the amount of material we launch.

“Under this govt, freedom of information has been extended, plus Scotland now has one of the most open up and transparent information and governance systems, which has been praised internationally. inch