Journalists and FOI: confidentiality required?

Journalists are concerned that stories that they have been working on will be made available to competitors on the Scottish Executive's website. The fear is that detailed research behind articles that journalists have been working on will be posted on the Scottish Executive’s website before it has been published in their newspaper.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said: "The Act gives everyone the same right to access information held by Scottish public authorities, including journalists and any other member of the general public. Information can be received in a range of formats and information of public interest may be posted on the authority’s website. This is the same for all requests regardless of their source."

Paul Holleran, organiser of the National Union of Journalists in Scotland, said: "We are making a course available for journalists and PR people to look at how best to use the FOI Act. As part of that we would be hoping to get something in place to try to protect journalists’ sources and scoops."

Journalists fear FOI Act will spill their beans (The Scotsman, 23 January 2005)