NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
In a debate in Tynwald the press in the Isle of Man were labelled a ‘Mickey Mouse’ media by outspoken MHK, Peter Karran.
The accusation was levelled during consideration of new Freedom of Information legislation labelled as a ‘game changer’ by the ‘Policy and Reform’ Minister, Chris Robertshaw, MHK.
Chief Minister (CM), Allan Bell, MHK also said the new legislation was a ‘major step forwards towards greater openness and transparency’ in government.
However, Mr. Karran, a frequent critic of government, said provisions in the Bill to allow the CM to veto the release of information and other provisions which include charging could deter the less well off from utilising the legislation. This he maintained undermined the principle of freedom of information.
Karran is an outspoken MHK who is now a member of the Manx Liberal Vannin Party and was originally (and for many years) a member in the Keys for the Manx Labour Party.
He has spoken out forcefully on social issues over the years on behalf of working people and the socially disadvantaged. Often he has been a lone voice in the Keys opposing Budgets which he felt disproportionately impacted working people and those on fixed incomes. He is also extremely popular with the public and has repeatedly topped the poll in his three seat constituency (Onchan).
Paradoxically, and as if to reinforce an element of Mr Karran’s media concerns, the Policy and Reform Minister immediately countered Mr Karran’s criticisms with lavish praise of the Island print media saying they had used pre FOI powers ‘to good effect in recent months’.
It is perhaps a sign of the times as at one time politicians and particularly Ministers were extremely critical of IOM Newspapers for some of the investigative stories they ran. Now it seems the ‘bonhomie’ extended by the government to the State funded Manx Radio seems to have spilled over to the print media!
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
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