Not many know about their right to know

According to research carried out for the Scottish Information Commissioner, the majority of people in Scotland are unaware they have legal rights under Freedom of Information (FOI) rules.

In 2009, 39% of people polled said they were aware FOI allowed them legal access to information from public authorities. That was down 10% from 2008's survey. However, the poll of 1,000 people allegedly found general awareness of FOI was high.

Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion said he was surprised people's understanding had decreased.

Mr Dunion said: "There have been many examples reported in the media of people and organisations using freedom of information legislation to access information, most recently in relation to MPs' expenses, and from this coverage we might expect understanding of FOI rights to be increasing."

This raises the question of whether peoples' awareness of their rights under FoI was ever as high as originally claimed by the Commissioner.

People's understanding of their FOI rights has fallen (BBC website, 24 November 2009)