WatchDog TipSheet

Wyoming "Data Trespass" Legal Conflict Settled by Ranchers, Enviros

A lawsuit over Wyoming's controversial "data trespass" law, which made it illegal to document pollution violations on "private open land", was settled in August without really resolving any of the important Constitutional issues behind it — and with both sides claiming victory.

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FOIA Policy: Many Journos Surveyed Say "Wait" Before "Release to All"

A key issue on the Freedom of Information Act is once a government record is released to a single FOIA requester, should it then be automatically released to any other requester and the general public? "Yes" was the answer from most journalists surveyed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — but with an important caveat. Image: © Clipart.com.

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Transparency: Still a Legacy Problem with the Obama Administration

Press Secretary Josh Earnest (pictured) highlighted a few of the Obama administration's steps forward on openness in an Aug 30, 2016, letter to the New York Times. But transparent? Not so much, according to many journalists in the trenches, and a large number of news media and journalism groups who have asked for more from the White House and not heard back.

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Caught Fudging Science, Duke Power Attacks Reporters Privilege

Embroiled in a growing scandal about efforts to cover up the science on the threat posed by coal ash to North Carolinians' drinking water, Duke Energy is asking a court to hold a hearing to discover the source of a document leaked to the Associated Press.

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Canadian Journo Forces Release of Docs on Pipeline Impact

Previously secret information about the safety and environmental impact of Enbridge pipeline operations was released in July as a result of efforts by journalist Mike De Souza (pictured), managing editor of the National Observer, and an independent Canadian government watchdog.

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Secret Sugar Can Claim "Confidentiality" in Food Recall

Consumers learned in late July of a "voluntary" recall of some processed food products due to possible metal fragments in sugar used to make them. The source of the contaminated sugar remains unknown, because federal law protects "trade secrets" — putting protection of companies above protection of the public. Image: © Clipart.com.

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Big FOIA Issue: Should Release To One Mean Release To All?

Journalists are sometimes competitive — and even secretive about the exclusive "scoops" they may be working on, lest their competitors beat them to publication. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is conducting a survey to get journalists' opinions on the Obama admin's proposed release-to-one-release-to-all policy.

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