Opinion: Free Flow of Government Information? Yawn.

Amid big-time Washington news like the torture report, a nomination for attorney general and cameras for police officers, a bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, or F.O.I.A., may seem pretty unsexy.

Apparently so, because it’s been mostly ignored by much of the mainstream media, including The Times, in recent days, as a retiring senator held up the legislation and it nearly went down the drain. That didn’t happen; the bill — a version of which received bipartisan support in the House — passed in the Senate on Monday with Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, releasing his hold.

The odd part about this is that journalists rely heavily on F.O.I.A. requests to get important information for their stories. Sometimes, they and their news organizations go to court to press those demands. And the information is used in major stories, including, for example, Eric Lipton’s recent investigation about state attorneys general and lobbyists’ efforts to influence them. Continue>>>