Fact blocking

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Fact blocking refers to actions taken by public officials or politicans that prevent citizens from accessing the information they need in order to effectively oversee and evaluate the actions and decisions of government officials and agencies.

There are different ways to fact-block. Some of the simplest are:

  • Fail to provide public documents requested under a public records request.
  • Redact information from public documents.

Other ways to fact-block include:

  • Withhold important public information, forcing people to have to go to the trouble of filing formal open records request. An example of this is a government agency that won't publish its budget on its website. When that happens, citizens are required to specifically request a copy of the budget.

A more complicated way to fact-block is:

  • Outsourcing public information. This refers to situations where government officials shield public information by entering into vendor relationships with private vendors to conduct the public's business, and then asserting that documents in the custody of the private vendor are not public.