Will it filter down to the local level?
Now this is change many reporters and community activists can beleive in. One of Barak Obama’s first actions as President is to open up, and tell federal agencies to open up, on FOIA requests. Too much information is okay, hiding behind executive privelidge is not. Only question, will local units of government join in?
From AP White House Correspondent, published in The Trib (emphasis mine):
In an attempt to deliver on pledges of a transparent government, Obama said he would change the way the federal government interprets the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was directing agencies that vet requests for information to err on the side of making information public — not to look for reasons to legally withhold it — an alteration to the traditional standard of evaluation.
Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said. Reporters and public-interest groups often make use of the law to explore how and why government decisions were made; they are often stymied as agencies claim legal exemptions to the law.
“For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Obama said.
He said the orders he was issuing Wednesday will not “make government as honest and transparent as it needs to be” nor go as far as he would like.
Stay tuned for the Open Government Directive, due in 120 days.