Freedom of Information requests are a valuable tool in the arsenal of any journalist, and a key tenet of democracy in the United Kingdom.
The Student Publication Association (SPA) is concerned by the findings of openDemocracy’s ‘Art of Darkness’ report, released today, one finding of which is that a ‘Clearing House’ unit exists within the Cabinet Office charged with informing Government departments how to respond to FOI requests, and maintaining a “blacklist” of journalists and campaigners.
The use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a journalistic and democratic tool must be protected, and we thank openDemocracy for bringing these findings to light.
The SPA will be reaching out to openDemocracy, to enquire whether student journalists, to their knowledge, have been affected by these practices. If this is the case, we will reach out to all affected, to offer our support.
If you have any questions, please contact the SPA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.