University of Tasmania
whole_BildsteinTaylor2004_thesis.pdf (9.07 MB)

Journalists' use of freedom of information in Tasmania

Download (9.07 MB)
posted on 2023-05-26, 22:58 authored by Bildstein, Taylor
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.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Open

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager