Bloggers, Podcasters Now Covered By Freedom Of Information Act

Jan 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Citizen Media, Podcasting Law

On Monday, December 31, 2007, President Bush signed into law the “Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007,” which amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by:

  1. establishing a definition of “a representative of the news media;”
  2. directing that required attorney fees be paid from an agency’s own appropriation rather than from the Judgment Fund;
  3. prohibiting an agency from assessing certain fees if it fails to comply with FOIA deadlines; and
  4. establishing an Office of Government Information Services in the National Archives and Records Administration to review agency compliance with FOIA.

The legislation expands the definition of who is a “representative of the news media”, making bloggers and other non-traditional journalists eligible for reduced processing and duplication fees that are available to “representatives of the news media.”

In other words, citizen journalists are journalists under the act.

Here are the details:

[T]he term ‘a representative of the news media’ means any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. In this clause, the term ‘news’ means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.

Examples of news-media entities are television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals (but only if such entities qualify as disseminators of ‘news’) who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public.

These examples are not all-inclusive. Moreover, as methods of news delivery evolve (for example, the adoption of the electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media shall be considered to be news-media entities.

via JD Lasica

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4 Responses to “Bloggers, Podcasters Now Covered By Freedom Of Information Act”

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