The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press released the 4th Edition of its “RCFP White Paper” today chronicling the effects the War on Terrorism has had on the public’s right to know.
The 89-page report, called “Homefront Confidential: How the War on Terrorism Affects Access to Information and the Public’s Right to Know,” outlines actions taken over the last two years by state and federal government agencies that limit the ability of journalists to do their jobs.
“This report is a ‘must have’ for every newsroom,” said Lucy Dalglish, Reporters Committee Executive Director. “It is an incredibly useful tool for journalists who are trying to explain to the public how information policy has changed in this country since 9/11.”
The report, first released six months after the events of September 11, 2001, is available in electronic format on the Reporters Committee Web site at https://www.rcfp.org/homefrontconfidential .
The report includes a chronology of federal government actions taken since September 11 that jeopardize the public’s right to know, as well as a compilation of actions taken by state legislatures and officials to respond to the terrorism threat. It summarizes problems journalists will have collecting information because of the USA PATRIOT Act, President Bush’s order for military tribunals and secret detention hearings in immigration courts. The report also analyzes Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Oct. 12 directive on interpretation of the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and editors that works to defend the First Amendment rights and freedom of information interests of the news media. The Reporters Committee provides representation, guidance and research in First Amendment and Freedom of Information Act litigation.
The Homefront Confidential report was funded by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the St. Petersburg Times and by the Scripps Howard Foundation.