President Obama on November 27, 2012, signed into law a bill beefing up previously flimsy protections for federal employee whistleblowers who disclose waste, fraud, and abuse. The legislation was supported by good-government watchdog groups.
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A geeky nonprofit watchdog group has done what government and private industry have failed to do; the group, SkyTruth, has made data about the ingredients in fracking fluid easily accessible to the public.
Whistleblowers are key sources for investigative journalists. The bill, approved by unanimous consent in the House and Senate, was hailed by watchdog groups Government Accountability Project and Project on Government Oversight, who had fought for its passage.
In September, South Dakota meat processor Beef Products, Inc., had sued ABC, some of its anchors and correspondents, and a USDA microbiologist under South Dakota law for reporting on the controversial meat filler. The company said it would oppose the October 31st motion to dismiss.
When NPR's David Schultz wanted to report last month on whether extra mumps vaccinations given in 2009 to Jewish children in the NYC area had worked or had side effects, he ran up against an embargo imposed by the journal Pediatrics. If you worry about how embargoes affect journalists' access, you may want to follow Embargo Watch.
Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call on many levels — especially as a lesson on the need to be prepared for disasters. Here are some reporting tools that may come in handy.
Here are more Congressional Research Service reports relevant to the environment/energy beat, published by the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.
Watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility's new guide to state whistleblower laws starts with a map — click on any state to link to its whistleblower law and other related info. Federally, there is currently a bill in play in Congress which would strengthen the notoriously weak federal whistleblower protections.
The gas industry won itself an exemption from disclosure requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005. But now environmentalists have a new angle, claiming EPA has authority to compel disclosure under a different law (the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act) — and urging EPA to use it.
Gripes about PIO policies are not new. Now an article in the Society of Professional Journalists' Quill magazine takes the complaint to a higher level, arguing PIO restrictions are not aimed at access and accuracy, and urging journalists to resist the PIO requirements in their own work — and to work together nationally to elevate the PIO censorship issue.