Friday, March 16, 2007

John Kerry: FOIA should cover bloggers

JK Supports Strengthened Freedom of Information Act for Bloggers

In a speech delivered to the New England Newspaper Association this afternoon, JK spoke out about a strengthened FOIA which includes support for bloggers.

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator John Kerry today announced his support for a legislative initiative designed to assist the freedom of the press. The bill would make the federal Freedom of Information Act more powerful, primarily by making it harder for the Administration to deny or delay the release of information. It does that by requiring that an agency respond to FOIA requests within 20 business days and establishes a publicly available tracking system for requests.

In addition, the legislation would help bloggers, because it would prevent agencies from denying them a waiver on fees just because they are independent or not affiliated with any institutional news organization. In the past, the need to pay fees for FOIA requests discouraged many bloggers or independent journalists from pursuing FOIA requests.

Everyone with a blog can be an investigative reporter. This is great news for freedom of the press.

It is also good news for providers of software that helps federal agencies respond to FOIA requests.

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