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Articles on Freedom of information

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration said it would reject all freedom of information requests – and then reversed itself after public outcry. AP/Teresa Crawford

Government secrecy is growing during the coronavirus pandemic

One more casualty of the coronavirus pandemic: open government. Since the crisis began, local, state and federal officials throughout the United States have locked down information from the public.
Easy access to government documents is essential to a healthy democracy. As a federal election approaches, Canada needs to do better. (Shutterstock)

With election ahead, we need to make public records truly public

As a Canadian federal election year dawns, an alternative approach to freedom-of-information legislation is an urgent need.
Information commissioner John McMillan (pictured right with then minister Brendan O'Connor) has not been replaced since resigning in June, nor has the FOI commissioner who left in January. AAP/Alan Porritt

Closing down FOI: a case study in sneaky government

In a year and a half the Abbott government managed, in practice, to undo the painstaking reforms of the federal Freedom of Information (FOI) system.
‘The people of the United Kingdom’ felt the tobacco industry’s record of addicting children and then killing one in two of those who don’t escape their clutches did matter. Chad Kainz/Flickr

We got an FOI request from Big Tobacco – here’s how it went

Cancer Council Victoria is contesting British American Tobacco's request for survey data about teenagers' smoking habits. Here's the story of a UK research group who faced a similar request.
Notions of the ‘right to know’ forced Hillary Clinton to defend her use of a private email account as secretary of state - a far cry from the days when citizens didn’t even know how their representatives voted. EPA/Andrew Gombert

The right to know vs the need for secrecy: the US experience

The idea of the right to know as the 'lifeblood of democracy' is a surprisingly modern development. And in an age when transparency is prized, privacy and secrecy can still be justified in many cases.

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