Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original Freedom of Information Act, President Obama June 30, 2016, signed into law a package of amendments to strengthen it. The bill codifies the "presumption of openness."
- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Visibility:
Overall goals of the new draft plan are to make all government data and information open by default and to eliminate all fees except for an initial $5 filing fee. The Canadian government invites comments on the plan before June 30, 2016.Region:
Journalism may finally be ready to stride into the brave new techno-world of drone reporting now that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a regulation removing the previous cloud of illegality and uncertainty. It's just the beginning.
FOIA reform: it's all over but the shouting — and the implementation. The package of amendments to FOIA features codification of the "presumption of openness," would establish a single online federal portal for FOIA requests and strengthen the role of the Office of Government Information Services. Image: Clipart.com.
The draft Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty is still being kept secret from the hundreds of millions of people whom it will affect. It matters for environmental journalists as trade treaties often set up mechanisms for corporations to negate the environmental laws of signatory countries. Image: WikiLeaks.
Senator Charles Grassley's opinion matters because he chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over FOIA. He also sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Some commenters say Donald Trump has declared "war on the press." But Hillary Clinton has herself given little access to the news media during the campaign so far. Worse yet, parts of the news media seem to be making the problem worse, by not advocating for press freedom and open information. Profits and ratings have trumped the First Amendment.
Open government groups have started a 50-day countdown to the law's 50th anniversary. It remains to be seen whether Congress can send President Obama a fix-FOIA bill by that date. Image: © Clipart.com.
The Senate-passed bill contains an explicit exemption from permits and fees for newsgathering. A House energy bill, now going to conference to be reconciled with the Senate bill, contains no newsgathering exemption. But that's not the end of the story. Image courtesy of NPS.
Here are the latest leaked explainers, written by the Congressional Research Service, that may be of use to environmental journalists.Topics on the Beat: