Poll: Government officers impeding reporter access to information, interviews

An overwhelming majority of journalists who cover Washington say the public is not getting needed information because of government control over interviews and information requests, according to a new poll.

The survey from the Society of Professional Journalists of reporters who cover federal agencies found most journalists have experienced a range of interference from public affairs employees. The release comes at the start of so-called Sunshine Week, a week dedicated to government transparency.

Nearly 85 percent in the poll said those public affairs officers have monitored their interviews at least some of the time.

Three-quarters said they have to obtain approval from those officers before interviewing agency officials. And two-thirds of those who responded said federal agencies block access to agency employees at least some of the time.

Most reporters classified these controls as a form of censorship -- and 85 percent agreed that the public is not getting needed information because of those barriers.

The survey of 146 journalists was conducted between Jan. 23 and Feb. 24. It had a margin of error of 7 percentage points.