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Home > Public Policy > First Amendment


The core mission of newspapers is to gather and publish news and information for the local communities they serve. NAA advocates before the executive and legislative branches on First Amendment and open government issues in support of newspapers’ newsgathering activities.

A top priority is the enactment a federal shield law that would enable journalists to protect confidential sources when subpoenaed in criminal and civil cases. While 49 states and the District of Columbia provide some legal protection for journalists and their sources, there is no similar law at the federal level. Such a law would protect the free flow of information and the public’s right to know.

Other issues include, but are not limited to, reform of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and educating policy makers on the importance of publishing public notices in local newspapers, which allows important information to reach citizens, particularly those who do not have access to the Internet.

= NAA Members Only

Senate Approves FOIA Reform Bill; Setting Up Conference with House

March 16, 2016

The United States Senate on March 15 unanimously approved S. 337, the “FOIA Improvement Act of 2016”,  to address deficiencies in the way Federal agencies respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Recent congressional hearings have shed a light on the agency resistance to responding to FOIA requests, which all too often forces requesters into costly litigation.

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Media Coalition Calls on Senate to Enact FOIA Reforms

March 08, 2016

A coalition composed of newspaper, media and journalist organizations to promote transparency in government, The Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which NAA is a member, sent a letter to Senators ahead of national Sunshine Week, which is set for March 13-19, 2016. The letter asks the Senators to support FOIA reforms (in the form of the FOIA Improvement Act, S. 337) that would enhance government transparency and accountability. The 50th anniversary of FOIA is July 4, 2016.

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Media Coalition Applauds House Vote on FOIA Reforms

January 12, 2016

On January 11, 2016, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 653, the “FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015” that constitutes the most important piece of legislation to strengthen and secure open government in a decade. The legislation would strengthen the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) – the FOIA Ombudsman – which was created by statute in 2007.

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NAA supports bipartisan bill to protect free speech

June 17, 2015

Thirty-three organizations, including the Newspaper Association of America, sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee leadership Monday. The letter urged the lawmakers to advance the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015 as quickly as possible.

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Media Coalition Testifies in Support of FOIA Reform

February 27, 2015

Sunshine in Government Initiative director Rick Blum urged Congress to quickly enact reforms to strengthen the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Blum testified this morning before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations.

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Congress Should Pass FOIA Reform Legislation Before the End of the Year

September 17, 2014

As the September work session winds down, NAA is hopeful that the Senate will turn to S. 2520 during the “lame duck” session in November and that Congress will enact FOIA reform legislation before the 113th Congress ends in December. A similar bill, the FOIA Act (H.R. 1211), already passed the House in February.

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