Saturday, February 26, 2005

SEVERAL BLOGS HAVE NOTED new legislation that apparently acknowledges and defines bloggers as members of the media. The OPEN Government Act, sponsored by a Republican (John Cornyn, Texas) and a Democrat (Patrick Leahy, Vermont) calls for the "[promotion of] accessibility, accountability, and openness in Government by strengthening ... the Freedom of Information Act. ..."

The section of the bill that has bloggers cheering bars agencies from denying access to government records by arbitrarily excluding certain categories of people from the definition of news media.

In making a determination of a representative of the news media ... an agency may not deny that status solely on the basis of the absence of institutional associations of the requester, but shall consider the prior publication history of the requester. Prior publication history shall include books, magazine and newspaper articles, newsletters, television and radio broadcasts, and Internet publications.
I found out about this legislation from Kevin Drum, who heard about it via an e-mail from Trish Wilson. Trish read about the legislation at Media Law.

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