The Radio Television News Directors Association joined eight other members of the Sunshine in Government Initiative this week to urge President-elect Barak Obama to move to ensure open government, allow access to information and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act.
In a letter to Obama, the group suggested four steps the new administration could take to open government to public scrutiny, including:
- Restore the presumption of disclosure across the executive branch. Federal agencies should only withhold information under the Freedom of Information Act when a foreseeable harm would result from disclosure.
- Create an independent, online ombudsman to help citizens access their government.
- Ban agencies from proposing or endorsing unnecessary statutory exemptions from disclosure. Any new laws proposed or supported by the administration to specifically exempt certain information from disclosure should be limited in scope and life and include oversight.
- 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.
The RTNDA joined 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 in sending the letter.For more information, visit www.rtnda.org.