If the Press Can Publish Harry and Megan’s Correspondence, then We Should See Murdoch and Co’s


The National Press always want it their way, but yes, they should be transparent and ‘Conflicts of Interest; should be made public.

How do we know that this interest in ;Harry and Meghan; may also be a Conflict of Interest.

The press state that Harry and Meghan should not have ‘their cake and eat it’, but it appears it is OK for The Press to do so. Hypocrisy in all its connotations.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Harry and Meghan and suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter from Megan to her father. And today, that bastion on the British press – and as the late Terry Wogan used to say of the Beeb, ‘there are many basty ‘uns in there’  – the MoS set out its defence. It’s the old ‘public interest’ argument. They’re going to argue that Meghan and Harry don’t have the same right to privacy as the rest of us, because they’re private correspondence and activities are of interest to the public. Zelo Street has put up a piece demolishing it by showing how circular the argument is. The letter, and anything else the royal couple writes or does, is of interest to the public because the press tells them it is. Zelo Street states

What the MoS is setting out in its defence is that what it did is…

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Parliamentary watchdog tried to hush news that hundreds of MPs had credit cards suspended | Nye Bevan News


Ex-high court judge rules risk of ‘embarrassing’ MPs no reason to withhold information

They were revealed by a Freedom of Information request which the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority tried to block.

The Telegraph reported last night the watchdog feared the “chilling effect” it could have on its relationship with politicians and claimed it could reduce public confidence in the regulatory system.

But it was over-ruled by a former High Court judge who said the risk of “embarrassing” MPs was no reason to keep the information secret.

It mirrors the initial reluctance of parliamentary authorities to release information on MPs’ expenses 10 years ago, when the scandal was uncovered only when it was leaked to the same newspaper.

The release of the credit card data showed MPs are regularly having their credit cards suspended for failing to provide receipts in a timely fashion or claiming for disallowed items, with 377 MPs sanctioned since 2015.

CLAIRE PERRY, THE ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER WHO ATTENDS CABINET, ADMITTED WRONGLY USING HER PARLIAMENTARY CREDIT CARD TO PAY FOR HER AMAZON PRIME SUBSCRIPTION.

Since the 2015 election, 377 MPs have all had their credit cards suspended, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act

 

Source: Parliamentary watchdog tried to hush news that hundreds of MPs had credit cards suspended | Nye Bevan News

Government repeatedly ignores its own advisers on ‘toxic’ train access | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government has repeatedly ignored concerns raised by its own accessible transport advisers about the “toxic” impact on disabled people of running trains without a member of customer service staff on board, official documents have revealed.

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) has been warning the Department for Transport (DfT) of its concerns for more than two years, according to letters, minutes of meetings and responses to public consultations.

DPTAC’s warnings have only emerged because of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the rail users’ campaign group The Association of British Commuters.

DPTAC – most of whose members are disabled people – first wrote to a senior DfT civil servant in April 2016 to warn of the “toxic combination of driver-only operated (DOO) trains and unstaffed stations”.

It warned then that such a combination, if there were no customer service staff on the train, was unlawful under the Equality Act.

But DPTAC has continued to raise the issue with the government, with further warnings issued in a response to a consultation in February this year; in its response to the government’s draft transport accessibility action plan; and even – two months ago – in a face-to-face meeting with transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani.

Ghani dismissed those concerns in the meeting.

 

Source: Government repeatedly ignores its own advisers on ‘toxic’ train access | DisabledGo News and Blog

The PIP Files: Data shows multiple complaints made against scores of Atos assessors | DisabledGo News and Blog


Scores of healthcare professionals may have been able to continue carrying out disability benefit assessments despite being the subject of multiple complaints about their behaviour, competence and honesty, confidential new documents have revealed.

The official reports, prepared by outsourcing giants Capita and Atos for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), show that up to 180 personal independence payment (PIP) assessors were the subject of at least four complaints each in three-month periods in 2016.

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that 161 assessors working for Atos had more than three complaints made against them in a three-month period.

And 19 Capita assessors were also subjected to at least four complaints in a three-month period in 2016.

Neither Atos nor Capita, nor DWP, will say what action was taken against these assessors and whether they are still carrying out face-to-face assessments of disabled PIP claimants.

The revelations provide fresh evidence of failings by the two private sector outsourcing giants in delivering PIP assessments across England, Wales and Scotland.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been investigating claims of widespread dishonesty by PIP assessors for more than a year, and has now heard from about 300 claimants who say their assessment reports contained clear lies.

The new reports include details of the “management information”

 

Source: The PIP Files: Data shows multiple complaints made against scores of Atos assessors | DisabledGo News and Blog

Mental health care ‘risks being over-run’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


Mental health services in England risk being overwhelmed by a combination of rising demand and staff shortages, a survey of NHS trusts suggests. The poll by NHS Providers, which represents trusts, found seven in 10 mental health leaders expected demand to increase this year. But fewer than one in three was confident they had enough staff to deliver services. Ministers said extra money being invested would help improve care. It comes as an investigation by BBC Radio 5 live Daily found the growing demand for mental health support was being felt in the ambulance service too. Responses obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed there was a growing number of ambulance call-outs to people suffering from suspected mental health problems. In 2015-16, there were nearly 279,000 call-outs, up from 240,000 the previous year, according to the 13 out of 14 UK services that responded. Louise Rubin, of the charity Mind, said part of the rise was likely to be down to an increasing trend for

Source: Mental health care ‘risks being over-run’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

“FOIA superhero” launches campaign to make Donald Trump’s administration transparent – Salon.com


Freedom of Information Act guru Ryan Shapiro’s “Operation 45” aims to make President Trump transparent, accountable

Source: “FOIA superhero” launches campaign to make Donald Trump’s administration transparent – Salon.com

Secular Talk: Judge Has Journalist Arrested for Using Freedom of Information Act


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

It seems that freedom of the press is under attack all around the world. Erdogan, the wannabe Ottoman Sultan of Turkey, has made himself notorious for jailing anyone, journalist or not, who dares criticise him. John Kampfner, in his book, Freedom for Sale, describes the clampdown on press and media freedom across the world, in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Dubai and Russia. And now America. In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski comments on a Vice Report about the arrest of a journalist in the US state of Georgia, Mark Thomason, and his lawyer, Russell Stookey, by the chief judge of Pickens County superior Court, Brenda Weaver. Thomason’s the publisher of a small, local newspaper, Fannin Focus. They were arrested on charges of identity fraud and making false statements. Thomason’s real crime was making official requests for public documents on illegally cashed cheques. He and Stookey also…

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Private Eye from 2006 on the Failure and Dysfunction of the Freedom of Information Act


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Private Eye in its issue for the 6th to 19th January 2006 published a long article on how the Blair government’s Freedom of Information Act actually didn’t do what everyone expected, and lead to great openness and freedom of information from government. I’m posting it up here as it shows how there’s always been a problem using the Act to get information, as Mike and so many of the other disability activists have found out for themselves, trying to get information out of Ian Duncan Smith’s DWP. Here’s the article:

How FOI Doesn’t Work

“The culture of secrecy in Whitehall, and beyond, is cracking open,” announced Lord Falconer in the Guardian last week, reflecting on the first anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We have seen real change … We seek to achieve across the whole public sector a new culture of openness, fully embedded in each and…

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Vox Political: Report Recommends Commissioner to Protect People with Learning Difficulties


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

This is another fascinating piece from Vox Political. According to the Grauniad, Stephen Bubb, the author of a report on abuse of people with learning difficulties at a care home near Bristol, has recommended that a special commissioner should be appointed to protect them. See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/02/23/appoint-individual-to-protect-rights-of-the-vulnerable-report-suggests/

It’s an interesting idea. The piece points out that there is already a children’s commissioner, following the horrific maltreatment and death of Victoria Climbie. Continuing the Classical theme from my last post about Boris Johnson, there’s a kind of precedent for all this in Ancient Greece. I can remember reading in one of the books at College that one of the Greek city states – probably Athens – had an ‘archon for women’ – effectively a ‘minister’, to investigate causes of complaint raised by them. This followed a women’s strike or strikes similar to the sex strike portrayed in Sophocles’ Lysistrata. There was…

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