RTNDA, Coalition Ask Obama To Open Access To Government Info
November 11, 2008 at 12:11 PM (PT)
The RADIO TELEVISION NEWS DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION and a coalition of eight other groups under the umbrella name of the SUNSHINE IN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE sent a letter to President-Elect BARACK OBAMA asking him to take immediate steps to ensure open government, allow access to information, and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act.
The letter outlined four steps the new administration could take that it said “would reverse the climate of secrecy in WASHINGTON,” specifically to restore the presumption of disclosure across the executive branch; create an independent, online ombudsman to help citizens access their government; ban agencies from proposing or endorsing unnecessary statutory exemptions from disclosure; and for the President to speak on the record, and urge his senior deputies and aides to do the same, in all statements about policy and current news about public matters.
RTNDA President BARBARA COCHRAN said, “President-elect OBAMA has the opportunity to lead by example and guarantee open government for U.S. citizens. By taking these steps to extend transparency, the new president can reverse a climate of government secrecy that has prevailed for too long.”
SGI coordinator RICK BLUM added, “These actions would show President-elect OBAMA intends to fulfill his pledge to restore open government in Washington.”
Other members of SGI include the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NEWSPAPER EDITORS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, ASSOCIATION OF ALTERNATIVE NEWSWEEKLIES, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS, NATIONAL NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, and SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS.