First Minister Ian Paisley has been warned to expect resistance if he carries through a threat against public information rights in Northern Ireland.
The DUP leader last week claimed that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was being used by "lazy journalists who will not do any work".
And he suggested restrictions on FOI will be needed because civil servants are spending too much time answering queries from "enquiring minds".
Mr Paisley's comment at the Assembly has been criticised by some of the UK's leading open government campaigners.
The National Union of Journalists has also now spoken out, with its Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley describing the comments as "disturbing".
Mr Dooley continued: "Politicians in the Republic reacted in a similar fashion to the introduction of FOI legislation in the south and in fact sweeping amendments to the original Act were introduced in the south, partly on the basis of spurious claims that vexatious requests were clogging up the system.
"One wonders if the First Minister has caught a dose of that rather nasty secrecy virus which for long infected politics in the south.
" Certainly he appears to be preparing the grounds for 'reform' - which really means turning off the light.
"The NUJ will resist any such move and I am confident that civic society groups would support a campaign in defence of freedom of information.
"Freedom of information is not just about access to official information - rather it is about an ethos which recognises that access to information is a right of citizenship."
The senior union official added: "There is no evidence to suggest that journalists or any other group of citizens are clogging up the system in Northern Ireland and the NUJ would be alarmed if the First Minister or Deputy First Minister were to consider amending the existing legislation or the procedures governing Freedom of Information requests.
" While Dr Paisley says there is 'no doubt' that requests take up staff time, he does not support his statement with statistics."
Mr Dooley said the reference to "lazy journalists" was "bizarre", adding: "One suspects he would really prefer if journalists did not use the Freedom of Information process - which in fact can be time consuming, requiring patience on the part of requesters as well as those who process requests.
"As for 'enquiring minds', the First Minister should be grateful that at long last we have in place a system of Government which generates public interest. Enquiring minds may be a trifle inconvenient, but apathy would be a far greater threat."
The Assembly does not actually have the power to alter the Freedom of Information Act, as it applies to England and Wales as well as Northern Ireland.
Any attempt to weaken its provisions here would require brand new legislation at the Assembly, or a fresh decision at the Westminster Parliament.