The federal government is applying bureaucratic systems that filter access to information requests made by media and subject them to scrutiny that causes unfair delays, in violation of Canada’s Access to Information Act, Canadian Newspaper Association President and CEO Anne Kothawala said today.
“We now have proof of something newspapers have long suspected: media requests for government information take longer to process because they are subjected to such a degree of scrutiny and even censorship, that often whatever prompted the request in the first place loses relevance or ceases to be topical,” Ms. Kothawala said.
Speaking to a national conference on Access to Information in Ottawa, Ms. Kothawala said freedom of information law is supposed to be applied fairly and without discrimination. “How ironic that secret rules are being applied to legislation that is meant to counter secrecy,” she said.
Public’s right to know in failing health in Canada, says national study
May 31, 2005
Canadians using freedom of information laws to find out how government decisions are affecting their daily lives are very likely to be denied, according to a national audit by the Canadian Newspaper Association.
The CNA study found that while the federal government as well as Canada’s provinces and territories all have freedom of information legislation, in many cases compliance with these laws falls short. Results of the study were released on May 28 in 45 newspapers across Canada.