Thursday, May 03, 2012

NYT: State Dept's Human Rights Report
Due in May; Reason for Delay Omitted

On Sunday, I reported how the U.S. State Department's human rights report for 2011 was supposed to be released on February 25, and that it's quite comprehensive with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV citations. The report, but not that the fact that it should have been made public two-months ago, was cited in a New York Times story yesterday.

I've sent the following note seeking answers to the Times' public editor, Arthur S. Brisbane, and a few other folks at the paper. I'll let you know what they have to say when they get back to me.

The Times' esteemed reporter Steven Lee Myers wrote an excellent story this week on the many diplomatic challenges facing President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, in our relations with China including regarding that country's record on human rights.

In his story, Myers made this reference to the State Department's yearly survey of human rights practices abroad:

Every president, to some degree, has championed human rights around the world. For the last 35 years the United States has produced an annual report on individual nations that have adhered to basic freedoms; the 36th is to be released this month. 

All that is true, however, Myers omitted the fact that this year's report was due on February 25, as it every year as required by the Foreign Assistance Act. I blogged last weekend about this two-month tardiness on the Obama administration's part and pointed out that this the third year in a row the State Department has missed the Congressionally-mandated publication date.

I am requesting that you ask Myers and the foreign desk editor why the larger context of the annual human rights report being two-months overdue was omitted. Times readers deserve to know that the report is late and why this is so.

Thanks in advance for your prompt attention to my concerns.

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