SGI Applauds House Oversight of New FOIA Ombudsman Office


September 17, 2008

Rick Blum
SGI Coordinator
rblum (at)
202-309-2654 (cell)

The Sunshine in Government Initiative applauds the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives for holding an oversight hearing today on the National Archives’ new Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), created by the OPEN Government Act (P.L. 110-175), the most comprehensive reforms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a decade.

“Last year, Congress created a place for the public to go for independent, fair assistance in resolving FOIA disputes,” said Rick Blum, the coalition’s coordinator. “We now know that the House and Senate appropriators support this office, and we’re excited this independent office will start working soon. Now the Archives can begin shaping how this office works, using models in the many states that have these offices already in place,” Blum said.

“Today’s hearing shows Congress wants an independent ombudsman at Archives to start helping the public,” Blum said. Blum told the congressional panel that “the media and citizens often run into roadblocks with government agencies, and there is no recourse except an expensive lawsuit. OGIS will provide a new, much-needed alternative to resolve FOIA disputes.”

The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of media groups committed to promoting policies that ensure the government is accessible, accountable and open. Public oversight is the ultimate safeguard of democracy. It is the inalienable right of citizens to examine and judge their government; and that right is served when news media act on behalf of the public to gain access to information.

American Society of Newspaper Editors
The Associated Press
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
National Association of Broadcasters
National Newspaper Association
Newspaper Association of America
Radio-Television News Directors Association
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of Professional Journalists