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Thursday, January 22, 2009

More thoughts on Obama's orders for more openness

Ellen Miller, director of the Sunlight Foundation, told the Washington Post that "public information" should mean government data that is available online and easy to download. Miller suggested that agencies take stock of what information they maintain and how the data are distributed. What was slightly disconcerting to Miller was that Obama's memos and executive orders were not posted to the White House Web site by late Wednesday afternoon.

More of the Washington Post story here.

For additional coverage, see:
  • Obama promises a more openness, Chicago Sun-Times: "Hot damn! This is astondishing. And wonderful," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "You know there's a new sheriff in town."
  • Obama orders could open records, Washington Post: Obama's new stance on open records could mean the disclosure of records that have been off limits to the public and reporters, such as details on toxic chemical spills and the drugs administered to Guantanamo Bay prisoners. However, Obama's memos don't discuss the labeling of documents as "controlled unclassified information."
  • On day one, Obama overturns era of White House secrecy, Editor & Publisher: Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative said: “Yesterday’s policy of 'When in doubt, leave it out,' today became, 'When it doubt, let it out.' And this policy will help keep the public informed in our technology-driven, connected society. On open government, the dawn is breaking."
  • President Obama's open government imperatives must trickle down to cities, MediaShift Idea Lab: Blogger Daniel X. O'Neil wrote: "To the mayors of every city in the United States, the message is clear: Nearly 67,000,000 people voted for Barack Obama on Election Day. Many of them are voting in your city, too. More than a million people went outside in Washington, DC to hear and see this President get inaugurated. Today, hundreds of thousands of them returned home to your cities, your neighborhoods, your tax bases. There's no reason to expect less of you than we've gotten from our President. Change is coming."
  • Opening government on day one, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: "That this message was issued on Day One is a huge step toward opening access to the federal government. And it is crucial that this message came from the very top. However, the public will need to be no less diligent in utilizing the laws to request information and continuing to hold this new administration accountable just as any other."

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