Monday, August 08, 2005

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom call for PCC to be added to FOIA

From the CPBF website:

"The CPBF has written to Lord Falconer, head of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, calling for the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to come under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Earlier this year and before the General Election, Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) minister Estelle Morris stated in reply to a question from Clive Soley MP that: 'The FOI act does not apply to the PCC as it is not a public authority. The government strongly believes that a press free from state invention is fundamental to democracy. Designating the PCC a public authority would not be compatible with the government's support for an independent body overseeing press regulation'.

The reason why the PCC is not a public authority under the Act is that the DCMS refused to designated it at such. Many other regulatory bodies are subject to the FOI Act including the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Police Complaints Commission the Equal Opportunities Commission and even the Information Commissioner who enforces the FOI Act!"

The text of Julian Petley's (CPBF co-chair) letter to Lord Falconer is set out online:

Reminder: the Secreary of state has power to amend the Schedule one list under S4 and "Further power to designate public authorities" under S5 of the FOIA. You can see the list of extra authorities on the DCA website

1 comment:

Jim Whitaker said...

I'm not very impressed with the level of understanding demonstrated by CPBF. It seems to me that they are failing to understand the difference between what is defined as a public body under the Act (which can be changed under Section 4) and the possibility for some non-public bodies to be brought under the ambit of the Act using Section 5.

The PCC satisfies none of the requirements under S4.2 or 4.3.

I would have thought that if they wish to be taken seriously they might be wise to do their homework better!