FOI plays important role in Youth Parliament campaign

28 June 2018

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) recently used freedom of information (FOI) as part of their ongoing campaign against the use of anti-loitering 'mosquito' devices in Scotland. These emit high-pitched sounds at a frequency only young people can hear, to discourage them from gathering in public spaces.

Kit McCarthy MSYP (North East Fife) said:

"Freedom of information was an invaluable tool for us when challenging 'mosquito' devices. Without it, we would never have realised the sheer scale of the issue. It is has led to superb results, such as ScotRail's commitment not to use these devices at any of its stations across Scotland.

"For the Scottish Youth Parliament, freedom of information is important for two reasons. It is incredibly easy to use: I made close to 40 requests to Scottish councils and transport authorities for the purpose of the campaign.

"Secondly, it is blind to age or personal experience. A 14-year-old Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament has the same right to information as anyone else, and that is vital for our campaigns, and for transparency generally."

Scottish Information Commissioner Daren Fitzhenry added:

"The Scottish Youth Parliament's campaign is a great example of young people using FOI rights to address an important issue.

"FOI is open to everyone, and it's important that young people know this. They have the same rights as anyone else to access information about public services and decision-making on the issues that affect them; whether it be related to education, health care, recreational facilities, public safety or any other issue.

"Information is a powerful tool. It helps us understand issues and can give people evidence if they want to call for change. If people don't know about their FOI rights, or how they help, it stops them getting the information they need."

A short video, produced by the Commissioner, to introduce FOI rights to young people is available at: https://bit.ly/2BJ8Ygl. More information on using FOI rights is available at www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights.


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