Journo Groups Demand More Transparent FDA

Eleven major journalism organizations are demanding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration end requirements that requires journalists and FDA employees notify or obtain permission from an agency official in order to conduct an interview.

The Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association and several other groups signed a letter sent to the agency’s Transparency Task Force this week.

The letter says, “These relatively new practices hinder reporters’ ability to learn the truth by inhibiting and sometimes barring employees from providing essential information.”

The journalists also object to the agency’s current practice of having public information officers listen in on interviews.

“That practice chills communication and inhibits public servants from sharing information with reporters,” said Charles Ornstein, president of the Association of Health Care Journalists. “And it limits what the public is allowed to know about its government.”

The letter also emphasized that nearly all prior administrations allowed open, unfettered communication between agency employees and the media.