Freedom of information laws backslide in Netherlands, get a boost in Nigeria

Dutch home affairs minister Piet Hein Donner yesterday announced he will continue pushing for more restrictions on freedom of information laws, saying they are misused by journalists, DutchNews.nl reported.

Donner’s plan would allow government officials to turn down so-called “improper” requests and narrow the scope of information searches.

“Dozens” of government workers’ jobs are devoted to answering questions and giving documentation, which is caused by “journalists firing off random shots in the hope of hitting something,” he said, according to DutchNews.nl.

The laws were created to give citizens access to government documents, the report explains, yet Donner’s definition of “citizen” apparently does not apply to journalists – only to people not looking to publish what they find.

Nigeria, meanwhile, has its first freedom of information law, giving citizens access to public records for the first time.

Government offices now have seven days to provide requested information, and also makes it against the law to destroy records, The Associated Press reported. The National Assembly passed the bill May 24.

Image: fountainvalley.org

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