Frank LoMonte and the Brechner Center Cited for Their Research on Restricted Access to Government Health Experts
The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and Center director Frank LoMonte were cited in “Federal Health Agencies Block reporters access to COVID-19 Experts and Information” published on healthnewsreview.org.
The article focuses on journalists who are experiencing impeded access to COVID-19 experts because many federal health researchers or administrators cannot be contacted before checking with government public information officers.
Many journalists who are concerned about this issue hail the work of LoMonte and the Brechner Center for their “government gagged” research in the context of federal health-and-science agencies.
LoMonte references a 2006 Supreme Court decision (Garcetti vs. Ceballos) often cited by agencies claiming they have the right to prohibit employees from talking to the press or forcing them to get prior approval from someone, often a public information officer.
“Wholesale prohibitions on unapproved contact with journalists, or with the general public, have long been recognized as unconstitutional, and remain so even after Garcetti,” said LoMonte. “It’s not legal for a public agency to tell its employees they are forbidden from speaking to the media. And if you encounter a policy like that, you should know that the agency is breaking the law.”