From NetNewsCheck.com 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. 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.”
The letter outlines other specific examples of the excessive information control, considered by some as a form of censorship:
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