, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
This has been a frustrating week for a lot of reasons. This is one:

An important part of doing this job is demanding info from governments. There are laws that govern this. Journalists just call them freedom of information (FOI) or access to information (ATIP) laws #cdnfoi /1
At any given time I have about a dozen FOI requests out in the world about all kinds of stuff. When I think of something, I ask for something. @DeanBeeby taught me that for every 10 requests you send out you might get 1 back with actual info you wanted. It’s a numbers game /2
It is also crazy expensive. It costs $5 every time I make a request at city hall or with a Queen’s Park ministry/agency. That’s $5 just for the luxury of having to wait many, many months to likely get stonewalled /3
Looking at the necessarily complex spreadsheet I use to keep track of the status of all my requests, I realized just now that five of my outstanding requests are now *more than a year old*. For a reporter whose currency is *literally news* this is incredibly troubling /4
When you do get info back, a lot of times it looks like this because FOI laws allow government workers paid for by the public to censor info from the governments that the public elect in order to keep that info secret from the public. We pay for these blacked out pages /5
Because after you pay your $5, there are lots of fees governments can charge for actually getting this info (or pages that theoretically have info on them). I’ve had fee estimates from $10 (Thank you city hall for only charging $10 for a CD of PDFs) to $30,000 /6
I just told a government employee to please not print the pages out and charge me 20 cents per page of photocopied info but instead just send the records to me as PDFs (Yes, governments are still burning CDs and no they won't just email it). I have these conversations a lot /7
I have had those whose job it is to process FOI requests admit to me that the governments they work for are arbitrarily denying me access by using too-broad rules under FOI legislation because it's just stuff they don't want me to see /8
If that seems nuts to you, please stay with me a little longer. So, I pay $25 to file an appeal to the @IPCinfoprivacy. I appeal almost every time, because it matters to fight for information that belongs to the public even when it seems so futile most days /9
Appeals take forever. They go through a mediator and you have this forced negotiation. Lots of opportunity for delay ("You mean this record actually originated from an outside agency? They need to be consulted and given the opportunity to fight you on this"). And on it goes /10
If mediation doesn't work, the appeal goes to an adjudicator. You make your case in writing, which involves looking up case law. Much of that case law favours government because, again, the laws are very broad when it comes to what can be censored. I usually lose /11
We journalists often joke that by the time we actually get the info we’re looking for in order to tell the public what’s really going on or to provide context to a breaking news story, the politicians we’re writing about will be gone, the story forgotten /12
We joke because this process is soul crushing. But none of it is very funny. This system is not only broken, it was designed to keep information from the public through multiple layers of government bureaucracy and laws that serve government secrecy, not the public /13
I saw this tweet from @amp6 last night and I was really feeling it. "Girl’s gotta hope." /14
If you think you deserve better, please share this thread with others and consider paying for the work all journalists do because I am here late at night putting *stamps* on things I have to put in an actual mailbox just to try to shed light on the things we all care about /end
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