Richard Thomas, speaking at the Society of Editors conference in Manchester, said that under a goverment consultation, launched by the Prime Minister 10 days ago in a speech on liberty, the two broadcasters could “in theory” be brought in.
He said: “We could move to cover broadcasters. Channel 4 are in, the BBC are in. But [ITV and Sky] are private broadcasters and there is a debate to be had about that.”
Thomas described the FoI act as a “success story” and said that there were 200,000 requests since the act became law on 1 January 2005, though he admitted that the current waiting time for answers to requests – often six months – was unnacceptable.
Thomas said that Gordon Brown’s speech on liberty had “sent a strong message to Whitehall and the rest of the public sector that [FoI] is now an important part of the consitutional settlement.”