Government Docs

Payola Press Pimped by Bush Again

kathleen writes "An Agriculture Department agency paid a freelance writer at least $7,500 to write articles touting federal conservation programs and place them in outdoors magazines, according to agency records and interviews.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service hired freelancer Dave Smith in September 2003 to "research and write articles for hunting and fishing magazines describing the benefits of NRCS Farm Bill programs to wildlife habitat and the environment," according to agency procurement documents obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.

This is why the Freedom House press survey reported the decline in the U.S. score."

Primer on FOIA Requests

Daniel writes "The NPR program "On the Media" on May 6, 2005 carried an interview with Russ Kick, the proprieter of the, which focused on the Freedom of Information Act and how to use it."

GAO Finds Bush Administration Violated Propaganda Prohibition

Kathleen writes "The GAO report, Unattributed Prepackaged News Stories Violate Publicity or Propaganda Prohibition was released on May 12, 2005.

Susan A. Poling, Managing Associate General,
Counsel, Office of General Counsel conclueds" HHS (Health and Human Services) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy(ONDCP) both commissioned and distributed prepackaged news stories and introductory scripts about their activities that were designed to be indistinguishable from news stories produced by private news broadcasters. In neither case did the agency include any statement or other indication in its news stories that disclosed to the television viewing audience (the target of the purported news stories) that the agency wrote and produced those news stories. In other words, television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government. We therefore concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition." [p.7]
A pdf version is here.

America's right to know being threatened

Anonymous Patron writes "Restrictions on the public's access to information grow at a startling pace. The office in charge of the national-security classification system reported last month that government classification actions had hit another new high: 15.6 million, up from 14.2 million the previous year. Says

A Column in The Daily Herald, Provo Utah. Some secrets make sense, of course. Others border on the bizarre."

FOI challenges in Scotland 'exceed expectations'

Anonymous Patron writes "Digital Media Europe: News Public authorities in Scotland are being challenged on withholding information requested under the Freedom of Information Act much more often than was previously expected, it has emerged.

The Scottish Information Commissioner's Office said on 5 May that it was on course to receive 'far more' requests to review FOI decisions than the 200 to 400 originally anticipated within the first year of the Act coming fully into force."

Support Government Info on Library Leg Day

Daniel wrote in to remind us Library Legislation Day, 2005 is coming up soon. There are several opportunities for Advocacy in the near future. Many librarians will be in Washington D.C. for National Library Legislative Day (May 3-4) and the Interagency Depository Seminar (June 8-15). Please take advantage of these, or any other opportunities you may have, to tell your Legislators about the importance of bringing Documents to the People.

In terror war's name, public loses information

Anonymous Patron writes "From Federal agencies under the Bush administration are sweeping vast amounts of public information behind a curtain of secrecy in the name of fighting terrorism, using 50 to 60 loosely defined security designations that can be imposed by officials as low-ranking as government clerks."

Threat to Public Grows With State Secrecy, Civil Libertarians Argue

The NewStandard Says The case of a government interpreter-turned-whistleblower serves to illustrate the snowballing trend of hiding embarrassing information -- a pattern critics believe may ironically lead to greater public insecurity.

National Diet Library working on digitization of books

Anonymous Patron writes "Japan Today Reports The National Diet Library is wrestling to digitize 8.14 million books to keep pace with the age of the Internet and to prepare against major earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The Diet library, the only archive of the legislative branch of government in Japan, has been collecting publications issued in the country since its opening in 1948."

Review Finds Government Clamping Down on Information

Anonymous Patron writes "Here's an ARMA Policy Brief That Says An Associated Press review of 130 annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports submitted to the Department of Justice from 15 executive branch agencies between 1998 and 2004 indicates that the federal government has clamped down on information in the last few years. The study suggests the government began the crackdown even before the September 11 terrorist attacks. The AP review also shows that the Bush administration is increasing the classification of documents and has removed many documents from government Web sites."


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