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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

"J.E.P Claims To Be Supporter Of Freedom Of Information!!!" whatever next?

Information battle is almost won


JEP spin doctor, John Averty

AS the old saying goes, knowledge is power. That, in essence, is why those who hold high political office have often tried instinctively to control the flow of information, the better to hold on to their positions and influence events.
To the great benefit of the democratic process, however, it is becoming ever harder for such attitudes to be maintained. The technology which has ushered in the information age is rendering obsolete old assumptions about how information should be shared, opinions formed and public policy shaped.
Meanwhile, in many jurisdictions freedom of information legislation has already enshrined the rights of the citizen to request documents and data from their authorities and reasonably expect to receive them without undue hindrance.
Now, finally, Jersey is to join them, with the almost certain introduction of a new law to replace the current voluntary code by which the States operate. The draft law, just published by the Privileges and Procedures Committee, still has to be approved by the full Assembly, but it is next to unthinkable that that will not now happen, especially in an election year.
Privileges president Juliette Gallichan is to be congratulated on bringing to the point of fruition a complex and challenging project which has taken something like a decade to complete.
Unsurprisingly, this newspaper has been a strong supporter from the start of a campaign which has had to overcome philosophical resistance, obfuscation and delaying tactics on its way towards ultimate success.
The media have a clear interest in public information being made as widely available as possible, but they have no monopoly on the uses of a law which will also help politicians, researchers, campaign groups, businesses and private individuals, as well as providing an antidote to the creeping curse of political spin.
Contrary to what opponents of a Freedom of Information Law would have us believe, its introduction should not be a costly or unwieldy addition to the responsibilities of public bodies. At heart, it should mean a simple matter of their learning to start from the assumption that the answer is yes instead of no when presented with a reasonable request for information they hold, and there is no obvious reason why much more time and energy should be expended by civil servants in meeting requests than in attempting to justify their denial.
The voluntary code has been an important staging post, but could never be as effective as the force of law in bringing about the required change in the public sector mentality.
It has been a long time coming, but the new law will be both a valuable practical tool and an important symbol of a maturing relationship between the Island authorities and the people they are appointed to serve.

11 comments:

  1. Rats deserting a sinking ship.

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  2. Ian.

    "Unsurprisingly, this newspaper has been a strong supporter from the start of a campaign which has had to overcome philosophical resistance, obfuscation and delaying tactics on its way towards ultimate success.
    The media have a clear interest in public information being made as widely available as possible."

    THAT'S FROM THE JEP???????????? Bl--dy priceless they really are.

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  3. It just beggars belief doesn't it!

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  4. what a load of rubbish,do they really expect us to believe this.The JEP has done more to damage truth
    and justice in this island than any other medium. They control what information or should I say misinformation is placed in the public domain.

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  5. A strong supporter! Well woopee flaming doo. Does that mean they will be allowed to find out the costs involved in rescuing a cat up a tree!

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  6. JEP can of course say they support it, however, we know from experience that having copies of the facts has never prevented them from saying nothing!

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  7. JEP and Freedom of information they are the purveyors of the disgusting propaganda for the States of Jersey they are nothing but an arm of the states spin department, one does wonder why and for what reason they have tried so hard to downplay the Abuse enquiry what do they have to HIDE ? thankfully all my family and friends no longer read there nightly rubbish

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  8. Who does buy the Rag these days?

    Only the Jersey Elderly People.

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  9. I've lost count how many times I've asked people "Did you see (whatever) in the JEP the other day?" and they hadn't. Does ANYONE read it any more?!

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  10. It is a S**t paper, with every word ran past the Establishment before print, and this "freedom of information" will be so selective it will not really exist

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  11. The J.E.P. could never ever be described as a newspaper, it is the most bias, establishment rag anyone could ever clap their eyes on, the sales must be reducing rapidly.

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