Freedom of Information as a journalistic tool - a study of contrasting cultures

Johan Lidberg, School of Media Culture & Communication, Murdoch University

Pub Talk

Thursdays at the Fremantle Hotel, corner Cliff & High Streets
Presentations start 6.30pm sharp.

7 March 2002


Imagine a world where a journalist can walk into (or phone, fax and e-mail) close to any government agency, ask to see a content index of the document archive, decide to ask for (orally, not in writing) copies of five documents and be able to access the documents within five minutes to an hour.

Or how about being able to walk into Geoff Gallop's office and ask to read today's incoming mail to the premier's office. After that you have a look at the subject headings in the Premier's e-mail inbox and ask for copies of the e-mails that are sent to Dr. Gallop in his capacity of Premier of WA.

This world exists, but not in Australia and certainly not in WA.

This paper is a research-in-progress report on some of the findings of the study: 'For your information: the impact of Freedom of Information legislation on journalistic practice in Western Australia and Sweden.' Conducted at Murdoch University's school of Media, Communication and Culture. The project compares the vastly different approaches to FOI in WA and Sweden. The paper will give an overview of the differences between the two legislations and how this impacts on the journalists' information gathering in the two countries. The paper will also discuss the data from recent surveys conducted in two newsrooms in WA and two newsrooms in Sweden regarding FOI use. In conclusion the paper will exemplify how Swedish journalists use FOI to acquire information as well as suggest future areas of research of FOI in WA and Australia and internationally.

Johan Lidberg lectures in Radio Journalism at Murdoch University.

Pub Talk | 2002

New: 19 February, 2002 | Now: 6 May, 2015