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Publication date: Sep. 20, 2006


The Society of Environmental Journalists joined an array of journalism and open-government groups Sept. 14, 2006, in calling on Congress to limit the use of a new "sensitive security information" (SSI) stamp to keep nonclassified information secret.

Conferees from the House and Senate are currently trying to reconcile two different versions of the appropriations bill (HR 5441) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The House version of the bill contains provisions aimed at limiting the overuse of the SSI designation. Some 28 groups including SEJ signed a letter urging the conferees to adopt the House language in the final bill.

Groups signing included the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Rich Oppel, editor of the Austin American-Statesman, also signed it. The letter was organized by an umbrella group, OpenTheGovernment.org.

SEJ does not take positions on political issues, including the environmental issues that its members cover. SEJ's Board of Directors has, however, established mechanisms for speaking out on issues of information-access which affect reporters' ability to do their jobs. The Board established the SEJ First Amendment Task Force to examine these issues and speak out when appropriate.

Last revised January 22, 2013

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