Government uses lawsuit for shield

If it were not for the First Amendment, comprehensive reporting, hardworking reporters, and the Freedom of Information Act, the public would be left to hear only what their leaders want them to believe.

It is not uncommon to be denied information and accordingly have to resort to the Freedom of Information Act to get it. This happens most often when said information would make an official look stupid, hinder their reelection, or reveal they are dishonest.

The biggest pain in the butt is the time it takes to file and wait, and officials hope it is that wait which will make the reporter skip the detail in order to meet deadline. However, some newspapers of smaller markets who are relentless in seeking due information are being told to back down or get sued – and sadly it is working. 

Odds are in the newspaper’s favor because of the U.S.Constitution is on their side, but a small or medium newspapers do not have the money or staff to endure a yearlong court battle.

As Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times points out in his article, “The government wants to do its business in secret, and increasingly there’s no press left to stop them.” Read about this happening to the Malheur Enterprise by clicking  > here <


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