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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - BRIDGING THE INFORMATION GAP

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In 'Press to put open access to the test' (LGC, 16 April), you reported we will be encouraging local newspapers to ...
In 'Press to put open access to the test' (LGC, 16 April), you reported we will be encouraging local newspapers to make effective use of the Freedom of Information Act when it comes fully into force on 1 January 2005.

Overseas experience suggests the role of the media in publicising FOI is essential. However, rather than interpreting this as a threat, councils should see it as a means of improving relationships with journalists and local communities. Nothing does more to undermine confidence in public authorities than the impression they are trying to conceal the facts - even though this may not be the case.

Councils are well placed to take advantage of the benefits of FOI. There is no reason for them to wait until the starting gun is fired. Councils putting more information into the public domain now will avoid storing up requests for the future and will demonstrate that they are committed to addressing problems.

Katherine Gundersen

Research officer,

Campaign for Freedom of Information

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