January 19, 2022

Access to Information: New Report Looks at Disturbing Pattern of Actions by Obama Administration

Access to government information by the press (and everyone else) is an issue that’s very important to librarians. With that in mind, here’s a new report that will be of interest.

The report comes from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) . It discusses a number of important issues  regarding access to information by the current administration and lists six recommendations that have been shared with the White House.

CPJ is disturbed by the pattern of actions by the Obama administration that have chilled the flow of information on issues of great public interest, including matters of national security. The administration’s war on leaks to the press through the use of secret subpoenas against news organizations, its assertion through prosecution that leaking classified documents to the press is espionage or aiding the enemy, and its increased limitations on access to information that is in the public interest — all thwart a free and open discussion necessary to a democracy.

About the Report

From a CPJ Blog Post:

On Thursday CPJ launched its first comprehensive examination of press freedom conditions in the United States. The report, “The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America,” highlights the growing threat to reporting on national security and similar sensitive government issues. It was written by Leonard Downie, Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post.

CPJ determined that a systematic examination of these issues was warranted and commissioned Downie to ensure the report was thoroughly and carefully reported. We knew Len’s contacts, access, and reputation would be helpful in such an endeavor and that his integrity would ensure the report was comprehensive and fair.

Based on Downie’s findings, CPJ staff and board prepared a list of six recommendations that we have sent to President Obama. We have requested a meeting with the president to discuss our findings.

Read the Report

Direct to Full Text Report (HTML) ||| PDF Version

Direct to List of Six Recommendations Sent to President Obama

See Also: Secrecy Report 2013: Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Governmen (via OpentheGovernment.org)
Released on October 1, 2013.
Direct to Full Text Report

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.