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APME Sends Letter About FOI to Attorney General

Wednesday, November 2, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jack Lail
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APME has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder registering its concerns over proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act.

The letter, signed by APME President Bob Heisse, calls on Holder to drop revisions to the FOIA that would essentially allow federal agencies to deny even the existence of certain federal documents.

There is no need for any change, the letter notes, and APME said it views this action as a step toward making government unaccountable.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

"The Associated Press Media Editors is strongly opposed to the Justice Department’s proposed change to Freedom Of Information Act regulations (OAG Docket No. 140). A modification to the FOIA that would allow federal agencies to essentially deny even the existence of certain federal documents would make a travesty of the United States’ claim to have an open and fair government.

"If implemented, the rule change would gut the intent of the FOIA and make any claims of transparency by any government agency or official a complete sham.

"You work for and should answer to citizens.

"The FOIA was conceived as a way for average citizens — as well as media — to gain information from and about their government. When you propose a change that would allow any government agency to deny the existence of official documents, you are intentionally misleading those citizens.

"There is no need for this revision. The courts already assess whether documents qualify for FOIA exclusions.

"APME views this action as a step toward making government unaccountable. It is bad policy, and we urge you in the strongest possible terms to drop this change to the Freedom of Information Act.”

Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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