RTNDA Commends Passage of Bill That Boosts FOIA


The Radio-Television News Directors Association Wednesday praised passage of a bill (HR 1309) that strengthens the Freedom of Information Act .

The bill makes a number of changes in the law, including broadening the definition of news media to include independent journalists working for a variety of media, including Web posting. It also better defines the 20-day shot clock for acting on FOIA requests, toughens reporting requirements, creates a tracking system for the requests and disciplinary actions for arbitrary denials, and helps journalists more easily recover court costs for challenges.

Sunshine Week is the perfect time for Capitol Hill to be sending a message of transparency and accountability to the public,” said RTNDA president Barbara Cochran of the bill's passage. “This is a huge advancement for open government, and long overdue.”

Sunshine Week (March 11-17) is a media effort to better educate the public about the importance of access to government information.

The bill's passage came on the same day a hearing was held in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a similar bill.