Open Government Directive mixes promises, plans and a few specifics
The White House today released a much anticipated Open Government Directive that emphasized promises and plans over specific solutions for ensuring transparency in the executive branch.
The directive includes promising commitments to improve how agencies handle Freedom of Information Act requests, and directs agencies to reduce backlogs by ten percent annually. It does not, however, say how agencies should accomplish this or pay for it.
"Today the White House released a 'roadmap' for transparency, but how agencies respond is where the rubber hits the road," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative.
"The White House's announcement consisted more of plans for transparency than specific data sets or new information that will now be available to the public. The directive puts more pressure on agencies to make the promise of transparency a reality."
For those who waited for the Open Government Directive to open doors at federal agencies, the wait continues. Over the next several months, agencies should be disclosing their plans to implement the President's Day One commitment to transparency.
About the Sunshine in Government Initiative The Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI) is a coalition of nine media groups promoting openness and accountability in government. Members of the SGI coalition include: American Society of News Editors, Associated Press, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, National Association of Broadcasters, National Newspaper Association, Newspaper Association of America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Society of Professional Journalists.
The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of media groups committed to promoting policies that ensure the government is accessible, accountable and open. Public oversight is the ultimate safeguard of democracy. It is the inalienable right of citizens to examine and judge their government; and that right is served when news media act on behalf of the public to gain access to information. More information is online at www.sunshineingovernment.org.