THE MEDIA AND ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT–HELD INFORMATION IN A DEMOCRACY

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Abstract:

This article explores the impact of information access laws on the capacity of the media to promote open democracy, focussing on developments in a range of Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It begins with a discussion of freedom of information laws, their democratic rationales, and the factors which have affected media usage of freedom of information laws. There then follows a review of the interrelationships between freedom of information and privacy laws and the extent to which privacy exemptions in freedom of information laws may impact on the activities of the media. The article concludes with a discussion of data protection law and other privacy-based restrictions on media access to information and their potential impact on the media's role in a democracy.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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