Administration Must Address Restrictive Media Policies and Practices

OpenTheGovernment.org joined the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and 51 other groups in a second letter urging President Obama to address the White House and agencies' restrictive public information policies.

The groups cite specific roadblocks agencies put in the way of journalists, including:

  • Officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people;
  • Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines;
  • Officials conveying information “on background,” refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.
  • Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.

Last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report detailing how mediated access to government scientists makes it more difficult for the public to access information that affects public health and safety.

The 53 groups asked President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting restrictive public information policies and to engage in a public discussion on the issue, "so that Americans can be assured their government is dedicated to the free flow of information for democracy to effectively work."

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