The Balance of Powers in Government Information Policy
What does the American public have the right to know about the federal government? The answer to this question has varied since the founding of the nation; both in the collection of information and information policy. This paper explores the evolution of government information policy and examines the effect each of the three branches of government – legislative, executive and judicial – has had on public access to government information. The collection and dissemination of government information created by each branch has changed greatly over the life of the nation, and each branch has regulated public access to information. The legislative branch has passed laws that provide access to some types of information and restrict access to others. The executive branch controls access through executive orders and the exercise of executive privilege. The judicial branch hears cases in which access issues are disputed and provides the third element in the balance of power. At times, the branches disagree. To illustrate what can happen when all three branches become involved in an information policy issue, the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s is discussed as evidence that the balance of powers created by the founding fathers operates as it should.
Advisor:Michael Van Fossen
School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:freedom of information government history publications policy
Date of Publication:04/09/2004