If you’ve read our recent blog posts, you’ll know that Freedom of Information is under threat in the UK, and we have until just 20 November to oppose restrictions to our rights under the Act.
One easy way to help fight these restrictions is to write to your MP, which of course you can do via WriteToThem.com.
Why not do it right now? It will only take a few minutes.
We always recommend using your own words when you contact an MP (and here’s why), but if you need a little inspiration, here are some themes you could use as a starting point:
- FOI does incur a cost but it also brings great benefits. Have you used the Freedom of Information act, personally or at work? How has it benefited you or others?
- Freedom of Information should be available to everyone, not just those who have the wherewithal (and technical ability) to make a paid request.
- Measures which make it harder to obtain information would allow public authorities to avoid scrutiny.
- The commission is predisposed to find in favour of restrictions: it is partly made up of people who have stated their opposition to FOI, and has only been asked to examine restrictions.
- There are other possible solutions, like the proactive disclosure of information, which would ease the burden on authorities and lower costs—and still keep the right to information intact.
- When restrictions such as these have been introduced abroad, dramatic falls in the number of people requesting information have been seen. This is a loss for all of society: holding our public bodies to account is one of the foundations of a functioning democracy.
- Information held by public authorities is information which already belongs to us, and for the creation of which we have paid through our taxes.
- Journalists use the FOI Act as it stands to bring to light stories of corruption, malpractice, cover-ups and incompetence—most of which would never have become public knowledge without the powers the FOI Act affords them.
Still lost for words? You’ll find more points in our last blog post.