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Kerry Endorses Bill Giving Bloggers New Powers to Pursue FOIA

by Pamela Leavey

In a speech to the New England Newspaper Association yesterday, John Kerry made it crystal clear that he believes in the power of the blogosphere when he announced his support for a legislative initiative that is designed to support the freedom of the press by making the federal Freedom of Information Act more powerful.

The bill would primarily make it harder for the Bush Administration to deny or delay the release of information by requiring that an agency respond to FOIA requests within 20 business days. The bill would also establish a publicly available tracking system for requests and it would help bloggers by preventing agencies from denying them a waiver on fees just because they are independent or not affiliated with any institutional news organization. In the past many bloggers or independent journalists have been discouraged from pursuing FOIA requests because of the need to pay fees for FOIA requests.

“There is no greater or more important watchdog today than our free press and we should all do everything we can to strengthen the ability of dedicated reporters to do their job,” Kerry said today. “Recent news reports on Walter Reed, the Big Dig, or even the US Attorney firings have reminded us just how important the press’s oversight is to our system of governance. In cases like those, exposure meant the difference between life and death. I am proud to sponsor this bill and look forward to voting on it when it comes before the full Senate.”

David Sirota called it a “great move by Kerry,” and Paddy on Cliff Schecter said:

This is a wonderful start for some real oversight capabilities. Seems like Sen Kerry is finding his stride, and good for him.

2 Responses to “Kerry Endorses Bill Giving Bloggers New Powers to Pursue FOIA”

  1. Great follow up to the last post, Pamela. Not only are blogs contributing to Media attention on situations that need some light, this will help them get information that otherwise might only be in reach of the MSM.

  2. Outstanding! Go get ’em Senator! BTW, Paddy also cross posts at Left in Aboite. That’s John Good’s site. John cross posts at my site. Small world.