38 Journalism Groups Demand Obama Admin Stop ‘Excessive Controls of Public Information’

Posted by Kyle Olson on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 at 6:45 am

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“Thirty-eight journalism and open government groups today called on President Obama to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public,” RINF.com reports.

The news site continues:

The national organizations sent a letter to Obama today urging changes to policies that constrict information flow to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources.

“The practices have become more and more pervasive throughout America, preventing information from getting to the public in an accurate and timely matter,” said David Cuillier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The president pledged to be the most transparent in history. He can start by ending these practices now.”

 Specifically, the groups’ letter cites the following complaints:

  • 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.

“Our members find that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press staff routinely block them from getting needed information — even in a public health crisis, even when the agency is rolling out new regulations and it’s important to localize the story,” Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, says in the RINF.com report.

These groups signed the letter:

This hardly seems like a conservative hit jobs as there are so few – if any – conservative news outlets listed.

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