Archive for January 22nd, 2009

A New Era of Openness, But Not Responsiveness

President Obama, as you might have heard, didn’t wait long to begin – however tentatively – the much-promised, much hoped-for rollbacks of the Bush administration’s secrecy and (lack of) “openness” policies. It’s one very small step in the right direction, and while it looks good on paper, I’m going to remain cautiously pessimistic about just how much meaningful change and reform the President’s policies are going to produce.

Don’t get me wrong, I laud any gestures towards greater openness and government transparency, however symbolic they may be. I just don’t think that any directive from the Oval Office, by itself, is going to change the many, fundamental problems with FOIA processing that now exist throughout the federal government. Yes, overclassification is a problem – a huge problem. So is the capricious and arbitrary way in which denials have been and undoubtedly will continue to be made. If the President is really serious about promoting transparency and openness, he should, in my opinion, take steps – real, meaningful, concrete steps – to improve the often glacial pace of FOIA processing government-wide. The law says you’re entitled, at least in theory, to a response in twenty working days. In practice…
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Published in: General | on January 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off on A New Era of Openness, But Not Responsiveness

Press Freedoms: The Good, The Bad, The Really Ugly

Overgeneralization is a dangerous game to play, because it’s so often wrong – and even when it happens to be right, it’s analytically suspect: no matter how lax your standards, “one” is not a valid sample size for any survey.

Case in point: Russian news media.

While poking around the web this morning, I came across this fairly interesting analysis of the renewed global interest in the arctic region. The bottom line: it’s all about oil and natural gas reserves. That conclusion, though predictable, isn’t really too far-fetched. However, you kind of have to wonder about the source…
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Published in: General | on January 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off on Press Freedoms: The Good, The Bad, The Really Ugly