RTDNA, other journalism groups press WH for cooperation

August 11, 2015 11:15

RTDNA and more than 50 other journalism and open government organizations are working together to urge the Obama administration to loosen restrictions on public information.

In a letter to the President, the groups again expressed the concerns they raised a year ago, over restrictions placed on White House staffers and their communication with journalists. The letter points out that the response of the Press Secretary failed to address the issues raised, and called on the the administration to engage in a meaningful conversation with journalists about access.

The letter reads in part, "The public has a right to be alarmed by these constraints – essentially forms of censorship – that have surged at all levels of government in the past few decades. Surveys of journalists and public information officers  (PIOs) demonstrate that the restraints have become pervasive across the country; that some PIOs admit to blocking certain reporters when they don’t like what is written; and that most Washington reporters say the public is not getting the information it needs because of constraints."

It goes on to say, "We acknowledge that the PIO function is often important for creating a strong central point for synthesizing and distributing official information, and we appreciate the dedication and earnestness of these public employees. But information control practices have gone too far, and must be curtailed  for the good of our democracy and reputation in the world."