With a consultation on freedom of information (FOI) poised to recommend restrictions on citizens’ right to know, one council has written to the panel reviewing the UK’s FOI law to demand the right to block requests which they deem ‘lazy journalism’:
“Councils should … be enabled to refuse media requests that could be considered as ‘lazy journalism’ that will clearly not inform genuine investigative journalism or that will not result in ‘news’ that is not in the public interest.”
Well it seems that Cumbria County Council are in a position to speak with some authority on laziness in the context of FOI requests. Early this year they were subject to formal monitoring by the Information Commissioner on the basis that they, errrrr, were seemingly incapable of responding to requests on time:
Cumbria was recently left red-faced after its former chief executive was revealed as the top-earning official in local government — awarded a package worth £411,025 after cutting the council’s budget by £88 million.
The source of the information? A freedom of information request.