WatchDog TipSheet

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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How Do 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on Open Government?

The news media often defend the freedom-of-information principles that allow them to hold government accountable for their audiences. But will they ask presidential candidates during the 2016 presidential debates how they stand on government transparency? Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (pictured) doesn't do press conferences.

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House GOPers in Standoff with State AGs Over Exxon Climate Probe Docs

Transparency is at the core of an escalating confrontation between House Republicans and some state Attorney Generals over Exxon's support for climate change denial. The AGs in July defied a subpoena from the House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith (R-TX, pictured).

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EPA Withholds "Deliberative" Docs on Arizona's Rosemont Mine

The public is still in the dark about the environmental impacts of the open-pit Rosemont copper mine proposed near Tucson. The documents are sought by Arizona Daily Star reporter and SEJ member Tony Davis, who has doggedly reported on the impacts, largely utilizing FOIA request results. Image: © Clipart.com

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News Media Groups Complain About Convention Restrictions

Authorities in both Cleveland and Philadelphia placed new restrictions on media covering the Republican convention, including banning gas masks, backpacks and bags bigger than 18" x 13" x 7" — which severely cramps broadcast journalists' ability to carry electronic gear.

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Court Docs in Bankruptcy Disclose Peabody Funding of Climate Denial

Peabody, the documents show, funded at least two dozen groups that sowed doubt about whether climate change is caused by human emissions and that opposed regulating climate emissions. Most of that funding had been kept secret until now.

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Reporters Committee Calls for Federal Anti-SLAPP Law

"Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" are legal bullying, using the resources of well-heeled business or political groups to harass smaller citizens' groups or (sometimes) news media who can barely afford lawyers. Now some are calling for a federal law to counter them.

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