When leaks dry up, we turn to FOIA

By Lata nott

When we talk about the importance of a free press, what we're really talking about is how important it is for the press to serve as a watchdog on the government. The highest responsibility of journalism is to supply the people with information about what their government is doing, so that the people can hold the government accountable, and make the best possible decisions when they vote. But if you're not a journalist (full disclosure: I am not), you may not give a lot of thought to how journalists get that information in the first place.

Official government press releases and briefings aren't really the place to find information about government misconduct. Obviously, leaks are a much better source when it comes to getting the real dirt. But the recent emphasis on prosecuting leakers is likely to have a major chilling effect on that source of information.

 

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