Ridge Should Be Pressed on FOIA


Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge will keynote the opening session of the RTNDA confab in Las Vegas April 19, and at least one free-press advocate hopes the audience grills him.

Ridge is the guy who will share vital information with the public in case of a terrorist attack on the U.S. But what should reporters be asking him? "About Freedom of Information Act exemptions, what types of information the department plans to keep from the public," says Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Will the press rise to the occasion? She has her doubts. "I’ll be astonished if he addresses the public’s right to know. I will be even more astonished if anybody asks him about it." RTNDA President Barbara Cochran disagrees: "RTNDA has been very vocal on those subjects, so why would anyone think we wouldn't ask the questions."