促进政府开放的胜利:美国修改信息公开法

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新闻记者用它查明游说者造访白宫多少次。历史学家用它搜寻有关1963年肯尼迪(John F. Kennedy)总统遇刺的尚不被人知的材料。阴谋论理论家用它调查据说在新墨西哥州罗斯韦尔(Roswell, New Mexico)发生的一次外星人飞行器坠毁事件。


它,就是《信息自由法》(Freedom of Information Act ,简称“FOIA”)。如今这项有半个世纪历史的法律得到更新,从而让公众可以获得政府更多档案文件。


欧巴马总统在6月30日将修改后的《信息自由法》签署生效。这项法律现在要求联邦政府对考虑是否公布档案纪录的出发点是 “假设应予开放”,而不是假设信息保密。


根据修改后的法律

  • 将建立一个新网站,把向任何机构提出的索取信息要求整合集中。

  • 政府机构将面对25年期限,公开与决策过程有关的文件。

  • 政府机构将被责成把公众很可能关心的文件主动公开。

  • 《信息自由法》是民众可以向政府官员问责的途径之一。


欧巴马总统在椭圆形办公室举行的签署这项新修法律的简短仪式上说,这项立法将把他的政府在促使政府更加开放和响应民意方面已经取得的一些进步永久化。


欧巴马说:”但是我知道,人们对他们的要求得到反响的速度不是一向满意。希望这次将有帮助作用,并成为我们继续沿改革道路前进的一个重要促进行动。”


In victory for open government, U.S. updates disclosure law

 

Journalists have used it to find out how many times lobbyists have visited the White House. Historians have used it to search for undiscovered information about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Conspiracy theorists have used it to research a supposed crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico.


It is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a half-century-old law now updated to give the public even more access to government documents and records.


The changes to FOIA that President Obama signed into law on June 30 will require that federal agencies consider releasing records under a “presumption of openness” standard, instead of presuming that the information is secret.


Under the amended law

  • a new website will be created to streamline and centralize information requests to any agency.

  • government agencies will face a 25-year deadline to release documents that shed light on how they make decisions.

  • agencies will be required proactively to disclose documents that are likely to be of interest to the public.

  • The Freedom of Information Act is one way people can hold officials accountable.


Before he signed the new changes into law during a brief Oval Office ceremony, Obama said the legislation would lock in some of the gains his administration already has made toward achieving a more open and responsive government.


“But I know that people haven’t always been satisfied with the speed with which they’re getting responses and requests,” Obama said. “Hopefully, this is going to help and be an important initiative for us to continue on the reform path.”  


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