Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obama administration failing to meet open government goals, Knight survey finds

The Obama administration is failing to fulfill its promise of improving Freedom of Information responsiveness by federal agencies, according to a Knight Open Government Survey by the National Security Archive, released March 13 for Sunshine Week.

In a news release, the Knight Foundation reported that fewer than half of the federal agencies have complied with a presidential memorandum Barack Obama signed in January 2009 instructing federal agencies to “usher in a new era of open government.”

The Knight Open Government Survey found that 49 of the 90 agencies had made concrete changes in their procedures to process requests for government records covered by the Freedom of Information Act. A year earlier, the number was 13. The news release said after the 2010 survey was released "The resulting national headlines sparked a new White House call to all agencies to show concrete change."

“At this rate, the president’s first term in office may be over by the time federal agencies do what he asked them to do on his first day in office,” commented Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funded the study. “Freedom of information laws exist to help all of us get the information we need for this open society to function. Yet government at all levels seems to have a great deal of trouble obeying its own transparency laws.”

Read the entire report here.

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