Press Statement: Raskin, Lieu, Yarmuth Introduce Federal Press Shield

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Press Statement: Raskin, Lieu, Yarmuth Introduce Federal Press Shield

Representatives Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and John Yarmuth (KY-03) introduced the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act. The legislation would safeguard a free and independent press by… (Read More)

 

Washington Post: Senator Wyden Proposes New Shield Law to Protect Journalists’ Phone, Email Records

Sen. Ron Wyden, a longtime critic of government surveillance programs, proposed legislation Monday designed to protect journalists’ data from government subpoenas… (Read More)

 

Lawmakers Press Justice Department to Stop Taking Reporters’ Phone Records

Washington Post

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting that the Biden administration end the practice of searching journalists’ phone records to try to identify their sources.  The letter follows a recent new report that in late 2020, the Trump administration, under former Attorney General William Barr, secretly obtained phone records and attempted to obtain email records from three Washington Post reporters for communications that were made in 2017, while the reporters were investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Read More

Media Coalition Outlines Open Government Recommendations for Biden-Harris Transition Team

News Media for Open Government (NMOG) looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to encourage government transparency and allow news media to keep the public informed. On December 11, 2020, NMOG sent a position paper to the transition team of President Biden and Vice President Harris recommending a set of policy objectives to maintain free press as well as protect journalists and their work.

 

Contact:
Paul Boyle
571-213-4365
paul@newsmediaalliance.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 11, 2020

Media Coalition Outlines Open Government Recommendations for Biden-Harris Transition Team

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The News Media for Open Government (NMOG) today sent a position paper to President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’s transition team, outlining policy objectives that support and strengthen openness in government and the right to a free and independent press, which is critical to our nation’s democracy.

The position paper states, “Citizens across the country rely on journalists, both in Washington and in their local communities, to stay informed of what’s happening in their government. Fact-based, trusted information distributed to the public permits the unfettered discourse that sets the United States apart from much of the world.”

Recommendations in the position paper include:

  • Daily White House press briefings and regular briefings across Executive Branch agencies.
  • Eliminating current restrictions that prohibit government employees in Executive Branch agencies from communicating with the press unless a public information officer provides clearance and is involved.
  • An administrative directive encouraging Executive Branch agencies to interpret the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a manner that favors the disclosure of government information to the American people.
  • Administration support for Office of Government Information Services’ Advisory Opinions, that would increase government transparency and reduce unnecessary FOIA litigation costs for the government, businesses and individual citizens.
  • Administration support for the principle that journalists will not be prosecuted for doing their jobs or protecting their confidential sources –  and journalists should be the last resort, not the first, when federal law enforcement is seeking information in an investigation.
  • The withdrawal of a proposed Department of Homeland Security rule that limits the length of time foreign journalists can stay in the United States and places the government in a position of reviewing the content of journalist’s work product as part of the visa renewal process.

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News Media for Open Government (NMOG) is a broad coalition of news media and journalism organizations working to ensure that laws, policies and practices preserve and protect freedom of the press, open government and the free flow of information in our democratic society. Members of the coalition include: Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, News Leaders Association, News Media Alliance, Online News Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

NMOG Remembers Rep. Elijah Cummings for Steadfast Work for Open Government

In remembrance of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ (D-MD-7) work improving government transparency throughout his career, News Media for Open Government joins many others in saying goodbye to the influential Congressman. NMOG commemorates Cummings’ efforts to strengthen and protect the Freedom of Information Act, which will continue to benefit American citizens after his passing.

 

Contact:
Paul Boyle
571-213-4365
paul@newsmediaalliance.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 24, 2019

NMOG Remembers Rep. Elijah Cummings for Steadfast Work for Open Government

News Media for Open Government joins those who say goodbye to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7) today, while remembering the popular Maryland leader and his tireless efforts to improve government transparency.

Representative Cummings, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, was presented NMOG’s 2019 Sunshine in Government Award in February for his unwavering efforts in pushing to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act in 2016. He worked on a bipartisan and bicameral basis to write a clear presumption of openness into the law. He and his staff pushed agencies to do all they could to make FOIA work better. He also spent countless hours pushing back on overbroad and unnecessary proposals that would weaken FOIA.

Chairman Cummings consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to transparency, even on the most difficult of topics. His significant contributions to the public’s understanding of open government laws and how these laws impact people’s everyday lives will continue long after his death. His steadfast work to protect the public’s rights under open government laws like FOIA and his contributions to strengthening open government will forever be remembered and appreciated.

NMOG members have worked together in a nonpartisan manner for over a decade to speak with a united voice to strengthen open government policies and practices. Members of NMOG include: The Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, News Leaders Association, News Media Alliance, Online News Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Society of Professional Journalists.

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News Media for Open Government (NMOG) is a broad coalition of news media and journalism organizations working to ensure that laws, policies and practices preserve and protect freedom of the press, open government and the free flow of information in our democratic society. Members of the coalition include: Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, News Leaders Association, News Media Alliance, Online News Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Media Coalition Statement on the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019

News Media for Open Government supports the “Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019” and applauds the efforts of Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to defend the Freedom of Information Act. The legislation seeks to reverse the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, which needlessly expanded what is considered “confidential” under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

 

Contact:
Melissa Wasser, Coalition Director
News Media for Open Government
(202) 795-9317
mwasser@foropengov.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 23, 2019

Media Coalition Statement on the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019

WASHINGTON ––– Four senior senators introduced legislation today to reinstate significant limits on what commercial or financial information should be kept “confidential” and out of the public eye when submitted to the federal government. Introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the “Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019” seeks to reverse the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, which unnecessarily broadened what is deemed “confidential” under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The legislation would essentially codify the interpretation of “commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential” established in by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the 1974 case of National Parks & Conservation Association v. Morton.

The National Parks standard, as applied by courts, required the government to disclose information submitted by third parties unless the disclosure created a “substantial harm to the competitive position” of the submitter. This standard struck the right balance between the public’s right to information and commercial interests. The bill also reverses the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule allowing political appointees to exclude portions of records from disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.

In support of the bill’s introduction, the News Media for Open Government (NMOG) makes the following statement:

“Today, we applaud Senators Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, and Feinstein for taking steps to defend the Freedom of Information Act. In overruling the 45-year-old National Parks precedent applicable to Exemption 4, the Court prevented the public from receiving newsworthy information of profound public interest, including information relating to nutrition, health, and safety. This bipartisan legislation reaffirms the public’s right to know how the government spends taxpayer dollars. We look forward to working with these Senators on this crucial piece of legislation.”

NMOG members have worked together in a nonpartisan manner for over a decade to speak with a united voice to strengthen open government policies and practices. Members of NMOG include American Society of News Editors, The Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, News Media Alliance, Online News Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Society of Professional Journalists.

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News Media for Open Government (NMOG) is a broad coalition of news media and journalism organizations working to ensure that laws, policies and practices preserve and protect freedom of the press, open government and the free flow of information in our democratic society. Members of the coalition include: Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, News Leaders Association, News Media Alliance, Online News Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists.