Monday, March 16, 2015

Resources on public affairs offices obstruction, etc.

Current Resources on “Censorship through PIO”
Compiled by Kathryn Foxhall,
(This list is available at

Survey of Science Writers, April 8, 2015
Will be on the SPJ website:

Washington Post: “Reporters find closed doors in Obama’s ‘open’ government”

National Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists Op-Ed, 2015
--Press organizations say, “A lack of openness pervades many federal
agencies and goes far beyond Washington into state and local governments.”

Letter to President Obama
--On July 8, 2014, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society
of Environmental Journalists led in sending a letter from 38 journalism and
open government groups to President Obama asking him to stop the excessive
controls on journalists, including the requirement to go through PIOs to
speak to staff members.

The letter got extensive coverage including an editorial in USAToday.

Neiman Reports
---“Public health reporters say federal agencies are restricting access and
information, limiting their ability to cover crucial health issues.”

Op-Ed in Editor and Publisher
--- “Editor and Publisher” published six-page op-ed in May 2014 saying the
censorship by PIOs has become a cultural norm across the United States.

Two Surveys Show the Problem Is Pervasive Nationally
---NPC, SPJ and the Education Writers Association presented two new surveys
on press office interference on March 19, 2014 at the National Press Club.
The reports are groundbreaking, illustrating the problem is pervasive in
many areas of the country, and in all sorts of entities. The great majority
of reporters said they felt the public is not getting the information it
needs because of the barriers.
The appendices with reporters’ open-ended comments illustrate a tide of
hard-ball obstruction.

Presentation at the National Academy of Sciences:
---In a presentation at a National Academy of Sciences workshop in December
2013, Kathryn Foxhall said these restrictions are powerful, mean censorship
that is new on an historic basis and radical. The response could not have
been better, with many people coming up to discuss it.  The 17-minute video
is number 11 on the link:

Panel at the National Press Club, August 2013
---Much of this flows from a panel at the National Press Club August 12,
2013, covered by CSPAN-2,
Written presentations from that panel:

One survey presented indicated most reporters working with
federal agencies feel the interference is censorship. Another found that 40
percent of PAOs admitted that they blocked specific reporters because of
“problems” with their prior stories.