Monday, February 21, 2005

US FOI: House bill to bolster FOI Act introduced

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:
"Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has introduced the House version of a Senate bill that aims to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act by revamping it for the first time since the 1996 Electronic FOI Act. The bill, introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would reform the FOI Act by tracking FOI Act requests, creating an ombudsman's office to settle disputes between government agencies and FOI requesters, and making government-owned information held by contractors subject to release. "Taxpayers should have the opportunity to obtain information quickly and easily," Smith said on his Web site."This legislation will greatly improve the public's right to know what the government is doing in their name."

Also - Open Government Act to recognise Bloggers as legitimate journalists
from BlogHerald
"Importantly for bloggers, the Cornyn-Leahy legislation grants privileged FOIA fees for bloggers and writers for Internet outlets, providing the same status as old media and will protect access to FOIA fee waivers for legitimate journalists, regardless of institutional association - including bloggers and other Internet-based journalists"

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