freedom of information

Anti-secrecy law ‘only months away’, predicts John

Work has begun in earnest on ending the entrenched culture of secrecy within St Helena Government – but one councillor has questioned whether it should be a priority. Open government became a key issue in the island’s July 2013 general election, a year after the launch of a campaign on St Helena Online and the …

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New leaders vow to end ’embarrassment’ of secrecy

St Helena’s new political leaders have called for an early end to the “embarrassment” of excessive secrecy within the island’s government. They also voiced strong objections to having to sign an oath of confidentiality, blocking them from sharing any information with the public without the governor’s consent. The acting chief secretary, Gillian Francis, acknowledged calls …

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Fight looms over secrecy oath that blocks human right (updated)

Update: Councillors have all now sworn the oath of confidentiality that prevents them revealing any information about St Helena Government. A new story will be published later today, following the inaugural session of the new legislative council. St Helena’s new councillors are being placed under pressure to swear a vow of secrecy that goes against …

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Open government is not islands’ top priority, says minister

Freedom of information is not a top priority for overstretched governments in the British overseas territories, MPs in London have been told. Foreign Minister Mark Simmonds also admitted that no territories had been given UK support to end the kind of secretive practices seen on St Helena.  That could change if new councillors act on a …

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UK’s top lawyer could help end St Helena secrecy

Britain’s Attorney General could be asked to help St Helena and other UK overseas territories draw up laws on freedom of information. Dr Peter Hayes, the diplomat in charge of overseas territories, raised the possibility during a committee hearing in Westminster. But he also referred to a set of rights, drawn up by the United …

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Secrecy leaves islands at risk of corruption, warns RSPB

A paragraph in this story has been toned down in response to a comment made privately to St Helena Online. The paragraph, about information being made available to legislative councillors, was capable of mis-interpretation.  Secretive decision-making by governments in St Helena and other British overseas territories leaves them vulnerable to corruption, MPs in London have …

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‘Thankyou for your honesty. Now let’s solve the problem’ – response to councillors on open government for St Helena

St Helena’s councillors say they support government transparency – but that tensions on a small island mean restrictions are necessary. Click here to find out how they answered questions on transparency. This is the campaigners’ response: by St Helena Freedom of Information Campaign We are very grateful to those councillors who had the courage to be …

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