Helsingin yliopiston kirjasto, Suomen kansalliskirjasto
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Paul Sturges

Freedom of Information, Journalism and Libraries

Freedom of Information, Journalism and Libraries
1 Introduction
2 The principle of freedom of information
3 The legislative practice of freedom of information
4 Libraries and freedom of information
5 Journalism
6 Ethical difficulties of journalists
7 Conclusion
* References
tulosta Printable version
This article defines freedom of information as both a legal mechanism and an ethical commitment of the information professions, comparing the FOI environment for librarianship and journalism to assess the support the former can provide to investigative journalism.


Journalism and librarianship share common goals (1). The journalist researches and writes material for publication and dissemination by newspapers, radio, television, web services and other publishing outlets. The librarian provides either direct access to what the journalist writes by acquiring publications and providing public access to the Internet and online services, and by directing researchers to sources not directly accessible through the library. This alliance is further cemented by the library’s ability to satisfy important journalistic research needs. We can consider both professional areas as important contributors to the knowledge industries, or the knowledge society. We can also note that both operate within a conceptual framework that can be described by the term ‘freedom of information’. This is helpful to a certain extent, but it needs further definition. The term freedom of information is capable of at least two distinct interpretations, and the relationship of these to a number of similar terms also needs to be established.

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