World’s first FOI law is 250 this year

On International Right to Know Day (Wednesday 28 September 2016), the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) is organising a seminar in Strathclyde University which will both celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the world’s first freedom of information (FoI) law in Sweden, and look for ways to improve Scotland’s eleven year-old law.

The seminar is jointly hosted by the CFoIS and the University of Strathclyde, and will feature Dr David Goldberg, an expert on Sweden’s FoI law of 1766 and subsequent developments, and Rob Edwards, Environment Editor of the Sunday Herald, and Journalist Director of The Ferret who has a distinguished career in using the Scottish Freedom of Information Act as well as the Environmental Information Scotland Regulations. The seminar will be chaired by Carole Ewart, convener of the CFoIS.

Carole Ewart said “As Scotland’s eleven-year old FoI law becomes increasingly patchy in coverage and complicated to use, we think it might be instructive to look at the history of FoI in a country with a much longer history of access and information rights.”

Although FoI in Scotland is a relatively recent law, the CFoIS argues that continually-changing methods of public service delivery – via the private sector, arms-length trusts, housing associations, joint boards, central agencies and the voluntary sector – have meant people’s legal rights to information vary, and getting information becomes more complex. This puts people off exercising their rights.

Carole Ewart said “We hope many people who work with FoI can come along to the seminar to discuss how we can improve the situation in Scotland. The seminar is free, but places are limited, so registration is essential.”

Details of the seminar – 250:11 Celebrating the World’s 1st Freedom of Information Law and Scotland’s late arrival – which runs from 14.30pm to 17.30pm in Strathclyde University’s McCance Building (MC319), 16 Richmond Street, Glasgow, are on eventbrite.


Further Information
International Right to Know Day is 28 September. It was established in 2002 to draw attention to the right for information across the world, and promote freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.
For more information on CFoIS visit

For further information, please contact:
Chris Bartter – 07715 583 729 or Carole Ewart on 07768 794 689

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