Associated Press General Counsel Karen Kaiser today urged lawmakers to enact bipartisan legislation now before the U.S. Senate to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and make it work better.
In testimony delivered to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in Washington, Kaiser detailed the many problems journalists and the public face when seeking access to public documents.
“Non-responsiveness is the norm. The reflex of most agencies is to withhold information, not to release, and often there is no recourse for a requester other than pursuing costly litigation,” Kaiser said. “This is a broken system that needs reform. Simply stated, government agencies should not be able to avoid the transparency requirements of the law in such continuing and brazen ways.”
Kaiser, who spoke on behalf of AP and The Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI), a coalition of media associations promoting open government, said the legislation would “result in a more informed citizenry and a more transparent and accountable government." Continue…