Friday, January 25, 2008

The American Government has finally made moves to expand the coverage of their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). American President George Bush has signed the amendments the Congress has passed, for the FOIA, now known as the Open Government Act of 2007.

The blog world has celebrated on the modification of the term “news media entity,” which now translates into people that distributes content electronically through telecommunications services. The quote on this section states:

...any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. In this clause, the term 'news' means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news-media entities are television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals (but only if such entities qualify as disseminators of 'news') who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public. These examples are not all-inclusive. Moreover, as methods of news delivery evolve (for example, the adoption of the electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media shall be considered to be news-media entities. A freelance journalist shall be regarded as working for a news-media entity if the journalist can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by the entity. A publication contract would present a solid basis for such an expectation; the Government may also consider the past publication record of the requester in making such a determination.

The only constriction implied in this Act is that blogs and websites may be considered as members of the news media, provided that they are in the category mentioned above. Independent and non-traditional bloggers and websites are still in the borderline when it comes to the act, unsure if they are covered by this Freedom Act.

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