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.
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Jim Holzer, head of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), a post often called the FOIA Ombudsman, has decided to step down after less than a year on the job. Some Freedom of Information Act advocates are seeing this as a discouraging sign.Topics on the Beat:
The multibillion-dollar Green Climate Fund, established after the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks to help developing countries adapt, offers many kinds of news to environmental reporters. So controversies around the fund's information disclosure policies are important.
The U.S. Department of the Interior is not winning many awards for openness. A House subcommittee recently took up the complaint that Interior's Office of the Solicitor would not even honor the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman's office with a response to repeated letters.
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.Topics on the Beat:
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:
U.S. EPA on April 29, 2016, posted on its website the 2015 "final" report by its Cancer Assessment Review Committee on the widely used herbicide glyphosate, sold commercially by Monsanto as Roundup. But on May 2, the report vanished from the EPA site.
The Iowa-based publication Farm News has fired an editorial cartoonist who had contributed to the publication for 21 years. His crime: pointing out that the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and John Deere made far more than average farmers.Region:
The language, in the report accompanying the bill, declares that employees of the marketing boards are "not government employees," and "urges the USDA to recognize" that such boards are exempt from FOIA. Image: © Clipart.com.