Wednesday, 25 November 2009

stifling dissent

many organisations have been facing budget cuts in the last year, particularly with the new government having a very difficult time balancing the budget. the pathways to partnership programme, which secured funding for NGO's over 4 years, has been cut. the labour government secured funding contracts for 3 years, but the current government has told service providers that contracts are "under constant review".

what this means is that those organisations are unable to criticise government policy or government funding cuts. to do so means the risk of losing what funding they have left, and people are scared to speak out. we already know that ministers in this government are quite prepared to directly attack individuals who dare to speak out, and to partially release personal information so that those individuals are subject to public abuse. organisations whose staff speak out face similar consequences, except that the impact is much more widespread ie clients who use the services and are often in desperate need will be the ones to miss out.

now this is a real attack on freedom of speech and on the right to political dissent. it means that the public is not accessing information they have a right to, because many of these cuts are not announced publicly by the government or they are announced so quietly that no-one knows about them. it's an appalling state of affairs.

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