Deletion of cartoon from learning resource: FOI review

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01891
Date received: 12 September 2017
Date responded: 4 October 2017

Information requested

Full details surrounding the deletion of an alleged racist cartoon from the Israel Palestine Learning & Teaching Resource as indicated in the email exchange described above. In particular who within Education Scotland and/or Scottish Gov took the decision to order its deletion? At whose behest was this done? Was it a consequence of the meeting that day with the pro-Israel lobby group? What aspect of the cartoon was deemed to be racist?

Please provide full details of any other similar deletions from the Resource.


I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.

In your review request, you stated that:

  • The request for information has not been answered in its entirety.

  • Exemptions have not been applied which could justify the failure to provide the information requested.

  • At whose behest was this done?

  • Was it a consequence of the meeting that day with the pro-Israel lobby group?

  • Which aspects of the cartoon were deemed to be racist?

We did not answer your request in full, and I apologise for this. No exemptions required to be applied because no information was being withheld.

In response to your questions, the decision to remove the cartoon from Glow was taken following a meeting between the Deputy First Minister (DFM), his officials and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities on 11 May 2017. The decision was as a result of this meeting; the decision was taken by DFM and officials.

As far as I can establish, there was no suggestion that the cartoon was deemed to be racist, therefore there are no aspects of the cartoon which could be construed as that. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Education Scotland does not hold any information in relation to the cartoon being deemed racist. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Education Scotland does not have the information you have requested. Rather, in terms of being misconstrued if it was viewed in isolation, the cartoon might be used outwith the wider context of the related materials, resulting in unbalanced messages being given to children and young people.

As I understand it, at the request of the DFM, a meeting of key stakeholder groups to review the materials concerned is being organised by an Education Scotland official (to which you will be invited). I hope that this meeting will help to alleviate any concerns and to resolve this matter.

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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