ATLANTA—The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University today submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking policies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House restricting CDC employees’ communications with the press and the public, including those related to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent news reports have indicated that the Trump administration has provided incomplete or distorted information about the pandemic, while simultaneously limiting the ability of CDC officials to communicate with the public.

The following can be attributed to Stephanie Krent, Legal Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute.

“It’s alarming that the White House is reportedly silencing public health experts at the CDC even as it has issued inaccurate and misleading statements about the pandemic. We’re concerned that government policies restricting CDC employees’ speech may be interfering with the public’s access to accurate and vital information. If these policies prevent CDC employees from speaking out as private citizens, the policies also raise serious First Amendment concerns.”

Today’s FOIA request is available here.

For more information, contact Lorraine Kenny, Communications Director, [email protected], 917-532-1623.