By April Dudash | June 30th, 2010
- San Francisco Chronicle: State Department releases countries who volunteered vessels and technologies for oil disaster clean-up
By April Dudash | June 30th, 2010
By April Dudash | June 29th, 2010
Have you stumbled across interesting FOI links? Feel free to share!
By April Dudash | June 28th, 2010
After a brief hiatus, we’re back to provide you with more FOIA goodness.
By April Dudash | June 18th, 2010
By Donald W. Meyers | June 17th, 2010
A judge in Utah’s 3rd District Court granted The Salt Lake Tribune and other Utah media outlets access to the dashboard camera video of former Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack’s arrest on drunken driving charges. Killpack had been arrested days before the Legislature’s annual session began, and resigned his seat shortly afterwards. His blood-alcohol level tested above the legal limit for Utah.
While Killpack is arguing in court that the police had no grounds to pull him over, it was the Utah Department of Public Safety that refused to release the video, claiming it would deprive Killpack of a right to a fair trial. But Jeff Hunt, the attorney representing the media groups, said there were better ways to protect Killpack’s right to a fair trial.
Police routinely release dashboard video, and in this case there was a particular need to see this video. Killpack was a member of the Legislative leadership, and he reportedly had been at a fund-raiser for another legislator and had gone to a club with a former legislators who became a lobbyist. Given the political intrigue, releasing the video would allow the public to see that justice was being dispensed fairly, and that an influential Republican was not getting preferential treatment, or being treated more harshly because of who he was.
Read more here.
By April Dudash | June 17th, 2010
By April Dudash | June 16th, 2010
By April Dudash | June 14th, 2010
By April Dudash | June 11th, 2010
By Donald W. Meyers | June 10th, 2010
The New York Times is the latest to report disturbing news from the Gulf Coast — and we’re not just talking about the oil spill.
Reporters trying to cover one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history are finding themselves blocked by BP officials or government agencies — from the U.S. Coast Guard to local police departments — from seeing what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico and where the oil is washing ashore.
The effort to control the press seems to be orchestrated, according to reports, by BP. For example, a CBS news crew was told to leave a beach by Coast Guard officers or risk arrest, the Coast Guardsman adding that it was “BP’s rules.” In another instance, a pilot who was going to take a news photographer over the spill area was denied permission to enter the airspace by a BP employee.
BP claims any restrictions are being done for safety reasons, and that it is allowing reporters into the area. But the reporters it is allowing in are essentially embeds who can only see what their BP minders will permit them to see.
BP’s moves may fly in England, which has a less-than-sterling record for press freedom, but it is wrong in America, where the press serves as a watchdog of both government and corporations. This is a disaster that will likely affect Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states for years to come, and there is interest in knowing how it happened, how badly are the states being affected and what exactly is being done to fix it. It is especially important in the context of the national debate over energy issues and whether we should be doing more offshore drilling for oil.
Journalists have a duty to go out and seek the answers on their own and hold those responsible for the disaster, both within BP and the government, accountable.