View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
June 10, 2013

FoI campaign group calls for donations amid ‘urgent’ funding crisis

By Gavriel Hollander

The Campaign for Freedom of Information is facing a short-term funding crisis following a series of upfront payments as part of a move to new offices.

The campaigning group is looking to raise £10,000 from new funders. Director Maurice Frankel told Press Gazette that CFoI in the process of approaching “people who we think might be able to help us”.

Frankel said that the situation was “very urgent” as funding was tight following the recent move. Although the new premises are cheaper, costs associated with the move have used up around two months’ worth of funding.

“It’s not our longer term funding that’s the problem,” added Frankel “We need around £10,000 to squeeze through and we need that pretty quickly.

“”We are a tiny organisation and run on a small budget compared to many other pressure groups so donations can go a long way for us.”

The group runs on a budget of £100,000 and has two full-time members of staff, including Frankel. Existing funders include the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Allen Lane Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation and the GW Cadbury Charitable Trust.

Press regulation campaign group Hacked Off has offered its support to CFoI. Associate director Evan Harris said: “I know how important it is that the UK has the best possible Freedom of Information laws in order to set an example to Commonwealth and other countries where access to information is even more vital to the safeguarding of human rights and the underpinning of democracy.”

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

Frankel called the timing of the funding crisis “unfortunate” as it comes while the Government is mulling new restrictions on FoI requests.

“The timing is particularly bad as it is important to put pressure on the Government at the moment.”

The Government wants to restrict use of FoI to make it easier for requests to be turned down as “disproportionately burdensome”.

Last week, Frankel called on Government to shelve the plans. He said: “Any request raising new, complex or contentious issues would be at risk of being refused, simply because of the time needed to consider unfamiliar issues.

“If FoI staff are inexperienced they will need still more time to deal with complex requests, increasing the chances of a cost refusal.

“Some authorities might deliberately claim they have to consult more widely than is strictly necessary to ensure that the cost exceeds the limit.

“Critically, cost refusals take no account of the public interest in disclosure – so many important requests could be refused.”

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network