Bødskov increasingly isolated over controversial freedom of information act

Every political youth wing in Denmark, aside from Socialdemokraterne Youth, will take part in a mass demonstration next Wednesday

May 10th, 2013 7:52 pm| by admin

An increasing number of current and former members of the political parties that are supporting the proposed freedom of information act (offentlighedslov) are voicing their discontent to the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne).

Socialdemokraterne (S) politician Kjeld Olesen, who has served as both the defence minister and the foreign minister, has joined the growing numbers who are against the offentlighedslov, stating that the government should be serving the people, not the other way around.

“If we are to have a just democracy, then the voters must be able to know how a government and a minister have come to a conclusion about a law proposal,” Olesen told Politiken newspaper. “That is an essential aspect of a democracy. Bødskov is elected as a politician and not as an official.”

Bødskov continues to be under heavy pressure for the proposed offentlighedslov, which will reduce political transparency, a pressure that has not been abated by other government members, including the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S), who keeps deflecting offentlighedslov questions in his direction.

“Its standard procedure that it is the [appropriate] minister who answers the question within his/her field,” Thorning-Schmidt told Berlingske newspaper.

But MP Simon Emil Ammitzbøll (Liberal Alliance) said that the continuous deferral of offentlighedslov questions is a show of pure arrogance from the government.

“I think that the government is being very cheeky, because we have asked how they have experienced problems with the current offentlighedslov in their own ministry,” Ammitzbøll told Berlingske. “That they suggest that the justice minister is the one to answer on behalf of the environment minister, climate minister and tax minister does not make any sense.”

Public sentiment against the offentlighedslov is continuing to gather momentum. Nearly 75,000 people have signed the pentition, ‘NEJ TAK til den nye offentlighedslov’ (NO THANKS to the new freedom of information act), and a demonstration against the proposal has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 in front of Christiansborg.

Every political youth party, aside from S, will take part in the anti-offentlighedslov arrangement at Christiansborg, something that is quite unusual.

“It sends a strong signal that all of us from the youth parties are now actively standing together against the law. And it also shows that the people in power are the only ones who benefit from it, where as the citizens and the politically-engaged actually lose,” Morten Dahlin, the head of Venstre Youth told DR News.

While Socialdemokratiske Ungdom (DSU) is the only youth party not attending, they do support the opposition to the offentlighedslov, but are not attending because “they don’t want to demonstrate against their own government,” Camilla Schwalde, DSU spokesperson told DR News.

Aside from some speeches, the demonstration will also include some live music from artists such as Shaka Loveless, MC Einar and Pharfar.

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