The International Federation of Journalists has lent its support to the NUJ campaign against the new FOI fees structure In Ireland. The changes will mean that applicants for information under the new Freedom of Information Act may be liable for multiple charges of €15 when a request is considered by a variety of divisions within a government department or agency covered by the Act.
In a statement, IFJ President Jim Boumelha called on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, to "row back on the last minute amendments as a positive statement of his commitment to FOI".
Mr Boumelha said: "When the IFJ World Congress was held in Dublin last June Irish colleagues were enthusiastic about the promised new legislation. We had watched the original Freedom of Information Act been torn apart in 2003 and supported the NUJ campaign of opposition to that move. We were therefore pleased that the Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was about to address the legitimate concerns of the NUJ, academics and civic society.
"Freedom of information is internationally recognised as a valuable tool of open government. It is predicated on the principles of openness, transparency and accountability. We have learned with concern of the new proposals and read with alarm the considered opinion of respected journalists and commentators.
"I call on Mr Howlin to engage with the stakeholders, those who use FOI in the public interest on a daily basis. Mr Howlin should row back on the last minute amendments as a positive statement of his commitment to FOI."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries