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Journalists' use of freedom of information in Tasmania

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Bildstein, Taylor (2004) Journalists' use of freedom of information in Tasmania. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Tasmania's journalists have not been educated in use of the Freedom of
Information Act 7997, and they have never embraced it as a journalistic tool.
Undergraduate studies addressing journalists' use of Freedom of Information
legislation (Fol), beginning just five months after the Act was first implemented in
1993, have consistently shown that journalists are under-educated in Fol usage;
they find the process complicated and plagued by time delays; they are
discouraged by the expense; and governments use contentious issues
management to frustrate them.
In 2004 things have not improved. Government support for Fol users has
diminished: the Fol Unit has been absorbed into the under-resourced and preoccupied
Ombudsman's Office, the Fol Users' Guide is no longer printed, and the
discouraging effects of contentious issues management have taken a toll.
Following a brief period of optimism when the Act was first introduced, most
Tasmanian journalists have given up on Fol. When it comes to the media, the
legislation is on its last legs in Tasmania.
But there is hope. A resurgence of usage can be seen nationally in a few highprofile
users and attention to the successes of interstate journalists could prompt
Tasmanian journalists to take up the Fol tool that has always rated as an important
feature of their journalistic toolkit (even though they have never used Fol to its full
potential).
Tasmanian journalists need support if there is to be renewed confidence in Fol.
They need to be educated by journalists who have had success using Fol, develop
an understanding of what the legislation is, what their rights are, and learn some
tips and tricks to make it work for them in the current climate. It is important in a
small state like Tasmania that is dominated by the public service, that journalists
provide the community with the chance to understand the processes of
government - not just the aspects to government that spin doctors want to
promote, but all aspects of government, aspects that can be revealed by
journalists' skilled use of Fol legislation.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Freedom of information, Journalists, Reporters and reporting, Government information
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the Author

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.J.M.S.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:53
Last Modified: 04 May 2016 00:34
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