22 January 2009

Memo to Gordon Brown...from Barack Obama

In the light of Gordon's recent wobbly over our Freedom of Information Act, lets hope he reads carefully the following memo from his new mate Obama:

A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of
the public.

All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

"In the face of doubt, openness prevails": couldn't have put it better myself. (Via EFF.)


The Intellectual Redneck said...

Where is the liberal outrage when Obama kills civilians?
President Bush was criticized for attacks against Al Qeada that sometimes killed civilians. Even candidate Barack Obama was critical. Will liberals now start calling Barack Obama a murderer? I suspect they will just look the other way.

glyn moody said...

I think once the honeymoon period is over there will be plenty of criticism. I'm sharpening my pencil in readiness...