The Radio-Television News Directors Association, the National Association of Broadcasters and other media organizations in the Sunshine In Government Initiative have submitted a wish list to President-Elect Barack Obama.
The groups are looking for a change in direction from what they see as the Bush administration's over-classification of information and the logjam of Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests (though there has been some movement on the latter)
In a letter to the president-elect, RTNDA et al. asked the new administration to take immediate steps to "reverse the climate of secrecy in Washington, including creating an independent ombudsman and speaking on the record about key issues.
Those steps are:
· "Restore the presumption of disclosure across the executive branch. Federal agencies should exercise their discretion to withhold information under the Freedom of Information Act only when a foreseeable harm would result from disclosure.
· "Create an independent, online ombudsman to help citizens access their government. The Obama administration should quickly ramp up the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration to mediate disclosure disputes.
· "Ban agencies from proposing or endorsing unnecessary statutory exemptions from disclosure. Any new laws proposed or supported by the administration to specifically exempt certain information from disclosure should be limited in scope and life and include oversight.
· "Speak on the record, and urge his senior deputies and aides to do the same, in all statements about policy and current news about public matters."