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February 18, 2005
New Law Proposes Reduced FOIA Fees for Bloggers
...because they are journalists:
Importantly for bloggers, the Cornyn-Leahy legislation grants privileged FOIA fees for bloggers and writers for Internet outlets, providing the same status as old media and will protect access to FOIA fee waivers for legitimate journalists, regardless of institutional association - including bloggers and other Internet-based journalists.
The law in question is the OPEN Government Act
(S.394), introduced Wednesday by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and co-sponsor Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.). It's aimed at reforming laws including the Freedom of Information Act of 1966 (FOIA) to make it easier for journalists and others to access government documents. According to the ACLU
, it would "ensure that requesters have timely information on the status of their requests, set enforceable time limits for agencies to respond to requests, implement news media status rules that recognize the reality of freelance journalists and the Internet, and provide strong incentives -- including both carrots and sticks -- for agency employees to improve FOIA compliance."
Bravo to Senators Cornyn and Leahy. I can't imagine that we've ever needed this kind of legislation more than we do now.
Here are Sen. Cornyn's remarks from the floor; additional analysis of what this means for bloggers @ Robert Ambrogi's Media Law blog.
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