In a letter to President Obama, 38 journalism groups criticized his administration for severely limiting access to federal agencies and a general politically-motivated suppression of information despite the president’s pledge of historic transparency.
Led by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the groups said that efforts by government officials to curb free-flow of news and information to the public has reached a peak during the Obama administration following a similarly stifling culture during prior president George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House.
“Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees,” wrote SPJ president David Cuillier. “This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”
Cuillier added that while agency personnel are kept mostly off limits to journalists, they are ”free [to] speak to others — lobbyists, special-interest representatives, people with money — without these controls and without public oversight.” …