38 Journalism Groups Demand Obama Admin Stop ‘Excessive Controls of Public Information’
“Thirty-eight journalism and open government groups today called on President Obama to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public,” RINF.com reports.
The news site continues:
The national organizations sent a letter to Obama today urging changes to policies that constrict information flow to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources.
“The practices have become more and more pervasive throughout America, preventing information from getting to the public in an accurate and timely matter,” said David Cuillier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The president pledged to be the most transparent in history. He can start by ending these practices now.”
Specifically, the groups’ letter cites the following complaints:
- Officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people;
- Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines;
- Officials conveying information “on background,” refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.
- Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.
“Our members find that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press staff routinely block them from getting needed information — even in a public health crisis, even when the agency is rolling out new regulations and it’s important to localize the story,” Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, says in the RINF.com report.
These groups signed the letter:
- American Agricultural Editors’ Association
- American Agricultural Editors’ Association Professional Improvement Foundation
- American Society of Journalists and Authors
- American Society of Business Publication Editors
- American Society of News Editors
- Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association
- Asian American Journalists Association
- Associated Collegiate Press
- Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
- Association of Opinion Journalists
- Center for Media and Democracy
- College Media Association
- Colorado Press Women
- Defending Dissent Foundation
- Journalism Education Association
- Investigative Reporters and Editors
- North American Agricultural Journalists
- National Federation of Press Women
- National Newspaper Association
- National Press Foundation
- National Press Photographers Association
- National Scholastic Press Association
- Native American Journalists Association
- Online News Association
- The Poynter Institute
- Project on Government Oversight
- Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
- Public Radio News Directors Incorporated
- Radio Television Digital News Association
- Regional Reporters Association
- Reporters without Borders
- Society of Environmental Journalists
- Society of Professional Journalists
- Student Press Law Center
- Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University
- UNITY Journalists for Diversity
This hardly seems like a conservative hit jobs as there are so few – if any – conservative news outlets listed.