By The Voice Staff
The Patriot Act is going to be the enactment that will hinder the investigative reporting and research that students and professionals rely on when uncovering important information that makes a difference in the lives of Americans.
The government is using scare tactics to justify the act and lead us to believe they are correct in doing so. Students and investigative reporters all over the country need to have access to a lot of types of information in order to enlighten to the public where checks and balances need to take place.
Critical information that can avert disasters is uncovered when investigative reporters like Steve Doig, Interim Director of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, have access to buried information. His 1993 Pulitzer Prize winning story for Public Service, What Went Wrong, could not have been written if not for the “critical infrastructural information” he exposed in Florida. Doig says it best, “There is a good reason for public records laws, and that is to give citizens and taxpayers the right to see the details of how their government officials are performing their job. The Patriot Act may have been passed with good intentions, but the resulting increase in the government’s power to hide what it is doing is a chilling development. As a member of the board of directors of Investigative Reporters & Editors, I get to read and watch hundreds of stories every year that uncover government incompetence or outright corruption. Most of those stories rely on access to public records, and any move to restrict such access is a disservice to democracy.”
Terrorists will go to any length to find the information if they know that great harm can come to the United States. Restoring the Freedom of Information Act might help creating a midpoint that the government and the public will agree with. We cannot let the Patriot Act cause a panic amongst the general public to a point that they will believe it is necessary to enforce such an act. We are giving in to terrorism by showing fear and in the words of the 32nd President of The United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.