Sunday, July 13, 2014

More than 40 journalism groups urge president to stop excessive controls on public information

INDIANAPOLIS – Thirty-eight journalism and open government groups have called on President Obama to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public.

The national organizations sent a letter to Obama urging changes to policies that constrict information flow to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources.

David Cuillier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists said, "The practices have become more and more pervasive throughout America, preventing information from getting to the public in an accurate and timely matter. The president pledged to be the most transparent in history. He can start by ending these practices now."

The letter outlines other specific examples of the excessive information control, considered by some as a form of censorship:

• Officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people;
• Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines;
• Officials conveying information “on background,” refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.
• Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.

Never before has such a broad-based coalition of journalism and good-governance organizations spoken out on this issue. The growing number of examples of "mediated access" have not just frustrated journalists but have led to specific cases of important information not reaching the public.

Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists said, "Our members find that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press staff routinely block them from getting needed information — even in a public health crisis, even when the agency is rolling out new regulations and it's important to localize the story. Anytime officials suppress information or downplay scientific findings, they are interfering with the public’s right to know. When reporters are ignored, and access is denied, news stories suffer and the public is cheated."

In addition to the letter, the organizations provided the White House with resources on the issue and a list of obstruction examples. They asked the administration to set up an avenue through which such incidents can be reported.

SPJ and SEJ urged journalists to join them in fighting these trends in public and private entities at the national, state and local levels. News outlets can resist these trends by publishing editorials, explaining the tactics in news stories and openly resisting them whenever they occur. They may also submit their own comments to White House web page.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit

The 38 groups who signed the letter are:

American Agricultural Editors’ Association
American Agricultural Editors’ Association Professional Improvement Foundation
American Society of Journalists and Authors
American Society of Business Publication Editors
American Society of News Editors
Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association
Asian American Journalists Association
Associated Collegiate Press
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
Association of Opinion Journalists
Center for Media and Democracy
College Media Association
Colorado Press Women
Defending Dissent Foundation
Journalism Education Association
Investigative Reporters and Editors
North American Agricultural Journalists
National Federation of Press Women
National Newspaper Association
National Press Foundation
National Press Photographers Association
National Scholastic Press Association
Native American Journalists Association
Online News Association
The Poynter Institute
Project on Government Oversight
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Public Radio News Directors Incorporated
Radio Television Digital News Association
Regional Reporters Association
Reporters without Borders
Society of Environmental Journalists
Society of Professional Journalists
Student Press Law Center
Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University
UNITY Journalists for Diversity

*Since the letter was sent to the president, more journalism groups have expressed their support in joining the cause, including the Arizona Press Club, the Associated Press Media Editors, Sunlight Foundation, Committee to Protect Journalists, Project Censored, Media Freedom Foundation, Virginia Professional Communicators and Local Independent Online News (LION), for a total of 46 groups.

Author's Note: Perhaps some people are paying attention to distortion and suppression of information.

That's it for now. More soon.

Stay Tuned !

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Headline News From The Year 2030

Ozone created by electric cars is now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California. White minorities are continuing to try to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language. Couples are still petitioning the courts to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

Iran continues to be closed off. Physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels. Iranian President Hussein Obama assures Iranian citizens and surrounding countries that the reports of radioactivity are just phony scandals.

France pleads for global help after being taken over by Lichtenstein. French President Mohammed Le Fleur and his Vice president Pepe "Abdul" Le Fleur complain about Lichenstein's requirement that all men wear Berkas. No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation!

Castro finally dies at age 112. Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking. George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

The Postal Service has raised the price of first class stamps to $17.89 and have reduce mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

In Other News: Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year in Mexifornia and Floruba..... Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.....

Abortion clinics now available in every High School in United States..... Senate still blocking drilling in ANWAR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays......

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative..... Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.....

New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2031..... IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent...... Floruba voters still having trouble with voting machines.

That's it for now. More soon !

Stay Tuned