Study: Gov’t. Agencies Discriminate Against NYC’s Ethnic Press

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(AP) The ethnic press feels discriminated against by government agencies, which often don’t return phone calls or provide relevant information, according to a survey released Wednesday by the 115-member Independent Press Association-New York.

“Information delayed is information denied,” said Abby Scher, director of the association, citing a figure of about 50 percent for the timely delivery of information from government agencies.

Among New York City agencies, respondents said they had the most difficulty getting responses from the police, the fire department, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office and the Department of Education, while they had good experiences with the City Council and the Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs.

They described the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the courts, Gov. George Pataki’s office, and the Department of Labor as the most difficult state entities, and the state Assembly, the state Senate, and the attorney general as the easiest.

On the federal level, reporters called the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Affairs, and the Department of Justice unhelpful in providing information. U.S. senators and congressmen were seen as accessible.

The Independent Press Association-New York, a network of immigrant, African-American, and community newspapers, conducted the survey as part of Sunshine Week, a national campaign called by the American Society of Newspaper Editors to bring attention to the closing down of government information.

The survey, put together with the assistance of Joshua Klein, a professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College, documented the experiences of 36 reporters and editors representing 32 newspapers from ethnic communities in and around New York City.

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