Here is more on the Freedom of Information Act legislation that is stalled in the Senate. (Earlier story: DOJ objects to FOIA bill, Senate HOLD put on bill) An interesting statistic in this article is that only 6 percent of all FOIA requests come from news media — most come from private concerns and individuals. The bill in question was on “secret hold” in the Senate until journalists polled Senators and discovered that it was Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, who put the hold on the bill. This article also has this quotable comment: “Don’t expect a huge uproar if the bill doesn’t make it. With an election coming, data secrecy isn’t the sexiest issue. But many of those “Holy cow” newspaper articles you read have their roots in the banal bureaucracy of government information.”
- Let the Sun Shine, by David Carr, New York Times July 23, 2007
We live in a nakedly transparent age. Celebrities live out loud, companies routinely have their business spilled all over the Web and anybody can find out an awful lot about you or me with a click of the mouse.
Not so in Washington, however, where the mechanism for releasing information has all but ground to a halt.
…Almost everyone seems to realize that more sunlight is needed. A bill to bring the government into the same century as its citizens has picked up massive support across a broad spectrum, but has yet to reach the Senate floor for a vote because it is impaled on the obstinacy of a single senator.
…The bills are not intended to open the government kimono any further (this being a very security-conscious age), but simply to make agencies meet the requirements of long-standing mandates.
If you can’t reach the above link, another copy of the article is here at Media Channel.
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