FOIA's 40th Birthday Marked By Plans to Weaken It

Jeffrey Addicott, Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, will head a $1 million project funded by the U.S. government to produce a "model statute" to restrict information disclosed under the 40-year-old Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


BBC Archives Reveal Spooks Vetted Staff

Archived internal BBC documents from the 1980's, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph under Freedom of Information legislation, reveal that the British spy service, MI5, was used to vet existing and potential staff at the public broadcaster. The paper reported that the documents revealed that "at one stage it [MI5] was responsible for vetting 6300 BBC posts - almost a third of the total workforce." The BBC adopted "categorical denial" as its "defensive strategy" to deflect questions about the practice by unions.


Big-Spending Brethren

While members of the conservative Christian church, the Exclusive Brethren, are not allowed to vote, they have been big spenders in recent election campaigns in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. They spent $NZ1.2 million in the 2005 New Zealand election, while in the 2004 US election their Thanksgiving 2004 Committee spent $US636,522.


International News Media as Collateral Damage

While "the latest target is the New York Times," for reports on a U.S. program tracking international financial records, journalists and media outlets around the world have been criticized -- and prosecuted -- for publishing stories related to the so-called Global War on Terror.


Drug Companies Fail Transparency Test

A report by Consumers International, a global federation of consumer organisations, examined the corporate social responsibility policies of 20 major drug companies to test what information they disclose about sponsoring patient groups, funding disease awareness campaigns and offering hospitality to medical experts.


Shredding Policy Haunts British American Tobacco

British American Tobacco (BAT) has suffered a major legal setback after a Sydney judge found that the company's "document retention policy," under which sensitive documents were shredded, had been developed "in furtherance of the commission of a fraud." In a case before the New South Wales Dust Diseases Tribunal, Justice Jim Curtis heard uncontested evidence from former BAT solicitor Fred Gulson that the policy was designed so that the company could shred potentially damaging documents.



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