Monday, May 7, 2007

All Governments, Authoritative, Democratic, or Somewhere in between, Have a Penchant for Secrecy

McCrann observes that ‘all governments, authoritative, democratic, or somewhere in between, have a penchant for secrecy’. [1] The US is not excluded from this tradition as it also experienced a long period of secrecy before its introduction of FOI legislation in 1966. This tradition can be tracked back to Washington administration in which government officials made ‘them almost an adversary to the people in the area of information’. Government information is withheld for various reasons, ‘ranging from national security concerns and embarrassment, to simple bad judgment or timidity’.[2]

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[1] Grace-Ellen McCrann, ‘An Examination of the Conditions Surrounding the Passage of the 1966 US Freedom of Information Act’ (2007) 3 Open Government: a Journal on Freedom of Information 19.

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