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.
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.
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.