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Lobbying, FoI and News International

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The Guardian has... played a very important role in the campaign for freedom of information. Week after week the paper carried reports based on information prised from government departments through legislation which now is extinct.

The Conservative minister, William Waldegrave, introduced the Code of Practice on Access to government information in 1994. It gave powers to the Parliamentary ombudman to overrule officials in the civil service who resisted requests to hand over information.

An intriguing set of documents relating to the lobbying by top executives of BSkyB and News International around the Communications Bill was obtained by The Guardian. If you want to look at the documents and a background commentary on their significance go to SpinWatch (}.

DATELINE: 25 January, 2010