20:45 GMT17 May 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - openDemocracy, a UK-based political website funded by US billionaire George Soros, said on Wednesday that it is taking legal action against the UK government over the alleged existence of a secretive unit within the Cabinet Office vetoing Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and blacklisting journalists and researchers.

    The media outlet said in a press release that the decision to go to court was made after the Cabinet Office refused to disclose full details about the Clearing House operation under the Freedom of Information Act, despite the Information Commissioner’s Office ordering it to do so in July 2020.

    Back in November, openDemocracy claimed that the 'Orwellian' unit advises other government departments on how to handle FOI requests and that among journalists and researchers being blocked were staff from The Guardian, The Times, the BBC and openDemocracy itself.

    More than 90 current and former editors of UK national newspapers signed earlier this year an open letter coordinated by openDemocracy calling for an urgent parliamentary investigation into the government’s handling of the Freedom of Information Act, while an online petition to reform the act has been supported by over 48,000 people.

    The case against the UK government will begin on Thursday at a first-tier tribunal, according to the media organisation.

    Under UK law, requests under the Freedom of Information Act are said to be "applicant-blind," meaning that the identity of the individual making the request should not be taken into account.

    Tags:
    Freedom of Information Act, democracy, George Soros, UK
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