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Monday, October 13, 2008

FOI delivers big weekend stories

Two big Freedom of Information disclosure stories over the weekend. In New Zealand, the Herald reported that a letter from a former undercover policeman to the Chief Justice, released under the Official Information Act, includes a claim that he lied in testimony in more than 150 cases that ended with people sentenced to terms in prison.

In the UK documents now over 10 years old , released to the Sunday Telegraph after a two and a half year Freedom of Information battle reveal that contrary to what was claimed at the time, Tony Blair acted almost immediately after a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone, who had donated a million pounds to the Labour Party, to get ministers cracking on ways to exempt Formula 1 from the ban on cigarette advertising . This from the editorial
"Documents obtained by The Sunday Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) nevertheless show conclusively that while Mr Blair may have had many political virtues, being straight with the public was not one of them.......It is a serious indictment of the way FOI operates that it should have taken Christopher Hastings, our reporter, more than two years to obtain the relevant documents. We wonder what other truths the guardians of "freedom of information" are protecting from public scrutiny until they can no longer harm the Government."
On the homefront media reports over the weekend based on Freedom of Information releases included
Council bus drivers flout law
Big banks ignored sub-prime troubles
AFP helps with death cases
Premier John Brumby spent $78905 on US trip
Consumers to gain loan watch website

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