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Friday 1 August  

The limits of free information in the Netherlands

Published on : 18 August 2012 - 8:55am | By (Screenshot: EenVandaag)
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The Dutch government wants to restrict the country's Freedom of Information Law (WOB). The WOB allows citizens, journalists and researchers to request government documents. This has led to politically embarrassing revelations about the costs of the Dutch Royal Family, ministers' expenses and the invasion of Iraq.

But the government contends that reporters are abusing the Freedom of Information Law. It is suggesting rejecting "unjustified requests", not disclosing closed-door meetings and introducing conditions on the use of documents, with a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

Journalists and others are arguing that curbing the law will make it difficult or even impossible to hold the authorities to account for their actions.

Discussion

Anonymous 20 August 2012 - 2:08am

I think they should talk to Iran, China, Russia and N. Korea about this. They sure know how it's done!

C.D. Tauber, M.D. 19 August 2012 - 7:56am

Why does it not surprise me that governments wish to restrict access to information? It is almost a definition of government that it acts, not for peace, openness, and as an arm of the people, but for the elites and to maintain the power structure as it exists. It is very sad that people allow this continue.

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