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Issues - Rights - freedom of information??

Will the Freedom of information Act be sabotaged as the Data protection Act was or will OUR Government own up and release the truth behind the scenes to us? Our Government and Local Authorities are always informing us of honest and open Government!

Wednesday 12th may BBC:
No secret vetoes on right to know
Ministers will have to comply with new freedom of information laws or explain their reasons to MPs, Parliament's data protection watchdog has said.
From January 2005, the public will be able to demand to see swathes of information currently kept secret by public bodies like the NHS and police.
But in certain cases, ministers will have a veto on what the information commissioner says should be released.
Now the commissioner says all veto decisions will have to go before MPs.
'Exceptional power'
The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000 but only comes into full force from 1 January next year.
It gives people a general right of access to all types of information held by public bodies.

'I cannot let a culture develop that makes use of the veto common practice '
Richard Thomas Information commissioner

But there are some exemptions and cabinet ministers will be able to use a special rule to veto the information commissioner or tribunal's decisions on what can be made public.
The veto was only ever to be used in exceptional cases and the Phillis committee, which examined government communications, said the government should announce the power would not be used.
On Wednesday, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the public interest must come first.
Culture shift
Mr Thomas said: "Ministers may believe that they have valid reasons for disagreeing with one of our decisions, but the act makes clear they must have 'reasonable grounds' before exercising the veto.
"I hope the veto will be used very rarely, if at all, but I cannot let a culture develop that makes use of the veto common practice.
"I am therefore making it clear from the outset that the issues relating to each and every use of the veto will be brought before Parliament."
Mr Thomas said his decision would mean any use of the veto would be open and transparent.
He added: "Freedom of information marks an important step in changing our culture from one based on need to know, to one based on the right to know.
"The act is a significant opportunity to make government more open, to build trust where it is lacking and to re-engage people back into the political process."

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