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Public barred from federal program on government openness

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  1. Freedom of Information
The public and the news media are barred from attending a workshop designed to teach federal employees about a new…

The public and the news media are barred from attending a workshop designed to teach federal employees about a new government office that resolves open records disputes, The Associated Press reports.

Federal public liasons attended the closed training session to learn about the new U.S. Office of Government Information Services, which the Obama administration created to help resolve disputes between freedom of information requesters and the government.

But some freedom of information advocates felt holding the Justice Department workshop behind closed doors conflicted with the administration’s promises for increased transparency and raised questions about whether liaisons receive the same messages in public and in private, according to the AP.

The Justice Department’s Melanie Ann Pustay, who was in charge of the program, said the meeting was held in private so that federal attendees could speak candidly during the training session. The program’s presentation materials have already been released.