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CPBF's Granville Williams salutes Maurice Frankel
The indefatigable director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel, topped the Press Gazette poll to become Person of the Year. Back in 1984 Maurice was approached by Des Wilson to set up a group to campaign for openness in government. But it was only in 1998 that Labour found a place for it in the Queen ’s Speech.

I still have a card, which Maurice was giving out at, I think, the 1998 Labour party conference. It pointed out that freedom of information featured in Labour ’s election manifestos of 1974, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1997. He comments that ‘no other policy has been consistently promised over 25 years. This is a frustrating and damaging delay ’.

Maurice has worked energetically between the time the act was passed in 2000, until its implementation. He played an important role in the announcement by Lord Falconer in October 2004 that charges for freedom of information requests would not be prohibitively expensive.

It is very appropriate that the journalists ’ trade journal recognises Maurice ’s efforts. Let us hope journalists now use the act.

DATELINE: 23 January, 2010