Laws such as the federal Freedom of Information Act and the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act were designed as ways to keep the things government entities do in the sunlight. The idea is that people should have access to what their government is doing. Being able to see what government entities are doing is vital to maintaining a society that embraces democratic principles.
However, too often bureaucrats hide behind FIA and GRAMA as a way to put off, obfuscate or just not be bothered. A recent example is the United States Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration’s refusal to comment on an industrial accident in Richfield. One of the jobs of newspapers, is to dispel false rumors through finding accurate information from credible sources.
When MSHA refuses to comment on something, citing that it is an active investigation, it is adding fuel to a fire of possible false rumors. This is especially true when there is no timeline or even an estimate as to when an investigation will be concluded. Sometimes, governmental agencies use tactics like keeping an investigation open to outwait journalists and others in an effort to avoid giving out information. Continue>>>