By Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, via GazetteXtra:
The forecast from this year’s National “Sunshine Week,” which annually focuses on issues of freedom of information and transparency in government, is “partly cloudy, with some sun and some storms.”
On one hand, an Associated Press analysis released during the week found that the Obama administration in 2012 answered the highest number during his time in office of FOI requests for “government documents, emails, photographs and more, and it slightly reduced its backlog of requests from previous years.”
But the same analysis shows the administration more often cited legal provisions allowing the government to keep records or parts of its records secret, especially a rule intended to protect national security—though some say that may just mean there were more requests for those kinds of documents.
And the private National Security Archive, at George Washington University, issued a report on March 11 noting that only about one-half of 90 agencies ordered by President Obama to upgrade their responses to information requests and foster overall openness have “actually made concrete changes in their FIOA procedures.”
So what is the impact on you or me?