The Times had its right to free speech denied when the Charity Commission claimed its inquiries into George Galloway’s alleged links to Saddam Hussein were exempt from Freedom of Information requests, the Information Tribunal has ruled.
The impact of the ruling could be significant, as The Times reports: “The test case for the Freedom of Information Act paves the way for all inquiries, even those conducted behind closed doors, to be required to make records open.”
In 2007 The Times asked the Charity Commission for the documents about Galloway’s Mariam Appeal, which intended to campaign against sanctions on Iraq, after the former Respect MP had refused to speak to the newspaper.
The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke supported the Charity Commission’s position but the tribunal ruled in favour of the newspaper.
The case was sent to the Information Tribunal by the Court of Appeal to consider whether the newspaper’s rights to freedom of speech under the Human Rights Act had been breached. The court will now reconsider the appeal.
Death of two girls triggers debates over Network Rail transparency
The Times reports that the deaths of two teenage girls in a level crossing have triggered debates over whether Network Rail should be subject to FoIA after the company withheld risk assessment documents relating to the accident that took place in 2005.
Dozens of health staff have been breaching patient confidentiality
The Scotsman reported that FoIA requests from civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch have revealed that dozens of health staff in the Lothians have breached patient confidentiality rules.