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The Politics of Freedom of InformationHow and Why Governments Pass Laws that Threaten their Power$
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Ben Worthy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097676

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097676.001.0001

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FOI: hard to resist and hard to escape

FOI: hard to resist and hard to escape

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 FOI: hard to resist and hard to escape
Source:
The Politics of Freedom of Information
Author(s):

Ben Worthy

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097676.003.0001

This chapter takes on overview of FOI. Freedom of Information (FOI) laws are difficult to resist in opposition but hard to escape from once in power. A commitment to an FOI law sends out strong messages of radicalism, change and empowerment that new governments find difficult to resist. However, when politicians regret their promises, as they often quickly do, the same symbolism makes the reforms difficult to escape from. It examines the history of the radical idea of openness, how it developed into the mainstream idea it is today and how it amounts to a battle between the symbol of the law and concrete opposition of institutions.

Keywords:   FOI, transparency, radicalism, symbolism, institutions

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