Denial of news media access to Gulf beaches has been an issue since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. There's tussling over access to (and interpretation of) scientific information on possible impacts of the spill on the Gulf ecosystem. And The Guardian obtained >30,000 pages of BP in-house memos FOIA'd by Greenpeace, which suggest BP was working hard to influence the results of the research it was paying for.
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A top Wisconsin Republican party official on March 17 filed a request under the state's freedom-of-information law for emails written by University of Wisconsin's William J. Cronon, after the professor blogged about the American Legislative Exchange Council, an anti-regulatory group that lobbies state legislatures.Region:
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse tool, based on documents filed in court through existing systems like PACER, will help both FOIA lawyers and you.
The draft policy, released recently by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), barely addresses media access. It leaves this to the purview of the Commerce Department Public Communications Policy — which has not changed since the last year of the Bush administration.
The intrepid Mac McClelland, who covered the spill and secrecy at its peak for Mother Jones, went back to see if anything had changed. But BP's cops tried to stop her.
AP reported President Barack Obama received an award "for making the government more open and transparent — presented to him behind closed doors with no news coverage or public access allowed." The event offered evidence that Obama's minders may be the worst enemies of his presidency — and that the PR pros are badly fumbling the PR ball.
Watchdogs were alarmed last week that the GOP "budget-cutting" campaign had targeted OpenGov data programs in order to fund tax cuts for billionaires. But sharp-eyed Daniel Schuman has been covering the developments on the Sunlight Foundation's blog since the first fiscal year 2011 budget bill passed.
The Freedom-of-Information establishment annually tries to remind the citizens and journalists of our democracy that this form of government must have a free press and lots of information to be healthy. This year was no exception. They celebrated "Sunshine Week," advancing freedom-of-information on many fronts.
As a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear plant continues to spew radiation into the environment, journalists and people across the world are getting an unwelcome lesson in how secrecy can threaten people's health and safety. A New York Times team finally on March 16 did the story on the withholding of information. Read their coverage, as well as others.Region:
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is about to release millions of feet of film containing aerial images that have been declassified. Such images have in the past been a boon to environmental research. It remains to be seen whether the contractors will charge prices that effectively prevent use by journalists and the public.Topics on the Beat: