Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man Freedom of Information law introduced

Leafing through a file Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption In the UK, FOI legislation has been used by investigative reporters on a string of other high-profile stories, including the MPs' expenses scandal

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can now be made on the Isle of Man, 11 years after the United Kingdom.

The legislation is designed to give members of the public the right to access information which is held by public authorities.

A government spokesman said it would be phased in, starting with two departments.

Chief Minister Allan Bell said it marked a "significant enhancement of democracy" in the Isle of Man.

FOI requests can only be made by Isle of Man residents and advice on how to do so has been made available on the government's website.

To begin with, only the cabinet office and the department of the environment, food and agriculture will be subject to FOI requests.

Other departments and local authorities will follow over the next two years with the act fully in force by 2018.

A government spokesman said it is being phased in to "manage the impact on public resources".

Initially there will be no charge for requests but this policy will be reviewed periodically, said the government.

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