National Press Club

National Press Club lauds congressional action on transparency

June 14, 2016 | By John M. Donnelly |

The National Press Club president congratulated Congress Tuesday for sending the president legislation aimed at making the federal government more transparent.

The bill, which would strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, is known as the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Senate passed the bill in March and the House approved it Monday, sending it to the president's desk for him to sign into law.

The measure would place the burden on federal agencies to justify withholding information instead of on the requester to justify release. It would require that disclosure of data be timely, accurate, and routine. It would direct the White House's Office of Management and Budget to establish a single access website for submitting and tracking FOIA requests. It would bolster the Office of Government Information Services, which serves as the government's FOIA ombudsman. And it would mandate that agencies update their FOIA regulations.

"The FOIA law was enacted on July 4, 1966, nearly a half century ago," said Thomas Burr, the National Press Club president. "It is fitting that the latest update to the law should occur in time for the law's 50th anniversary. Let's hope this president signs the bill and that the next president implements its directives fully, so the public can know as much as possible about its government."

The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club works to promote freedom of expression and transparency at home and abroad. The National Press Club Journalism Institute, a non-profit affiliate, equips news professionals with the skills to innovate, leverages emerging trends, recognizes innovators and mentors the next generation.

Contact: John M. Donnelly, Chairman, NPC Press Freedom Committee,; 202 650 6738.