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Even public bodies have right to privacy
10:00am Wednesday 30th April 2014 in Letters
Sir – With reference to your editorial on April 16, titled “Free Speech is Fundamental”: there seems to be an argument about whether individual Witney town councillors can or cannot be allowed to answer questions from the media without first having written approval from the council.
The editorial argues that “democracy demands the freedom to give a view”.
Your front page backs up this editorial argument with quotations from other councils who share the same view as your paper, that, somehow, democracy is some kind of free-for-all. Democracy means that anyone can say anything at any time? Really?
I would argue that Witney Town Council has a point – even though your front page quoted our Prime Minister and MP David Cameron, who says that all public bodies should conduct business in a transparent way, as if Mr Cameron has some kind of monopoly on ideas, and that whatever he says must be truth.
Democracy means the right to privacy as well as the right to information. If someone asks a question, you have the right to refuse to answer, in a democracy.
Perhaps Witney Town Council is trying to be unambiguous, clear and avoiding confusion by having some kind of order in their proceedings.
To clamp down on the right to privacy is as undemocratic as is the right to acquire some information.
Some information should be private. Even public bodies have rights.
Dennis Perrin, Vale Road, Witney
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