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A day in FoIA: Prince Charles’s letter to ministers should be disclosed, Ofcom spending £9.4 million on redundancies, judge preserves privacy of climate scientist’s emails, Philippine media groups say new cybercrime law threatens press freedom

Prince Charles’s letters to ministers should be disclosed, judges rule

The government has for the first time been ordered to disclose copies of confidential letters that Prince Charles wrote to ministers.

The publication of the letters will reveal how the heir to the throne has been lobbying ministers behind the scenes with his strongly held opinions.

In a significant ruling published on Tuesday, three judges in a freedom of information tribunal decided the public is entitled to know how the prince seeks to alter government policy.

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Rob Evans | The Guardian | September 18th 2012

One of Britain’s best known quangos spent £9.4m making 223 redundant, then took on another 598 staff

One of Britain’s best-known quangos has spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on redundancies, while hiring more than double the number of staff that it let go, figures reveal.

Information released under Freedom of Information laws shows that Ofcom, the communications watchdog, has spent £9.4million making workers redundant over the past five years.

But over the same period it has hired 598 staff – more than twice the 223 who have been let go.

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James Chapman | Daily Mail | September 17th 2012

Judge preserves privacy of climate scientist’s emails

Climate scientist Michael Mann reported Monday that he and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have prevailed in a court case against the conservative American Tradition Institute (ATI), which had sought access to emails he wrote while serving as a professor at the school from 1999-2005.

Now at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Mann says the ruling supports the University of Virginia’s argument than an exemption to the state’s freedom-of-information law “applies to faculty communications in furtherance of their work”. The Prince William County Circuit Court ruling came directly from the bench in and was not immediately available online.

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Jeff Tollefson | Nature | September 18th 2012

Philippine media groups say new cybercrime law threatens press freedom

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine media groups said Tuesday a new law targeting cybercrime could also be used to curb press freedom.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also criticized the government for passing the law while delaying a proposed freedom of information act.

They said in separate statements that the law signed by President Benigno Aquino III last week includes libel as a cybercrime despite efforts by press freedom advocates to decriminalize the offence.

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Oliver Teves | The Vancouver Sun | September 18th 2012

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