Journalists are crying foul at a new Obama policy that will deny them the right to use their own computers to write stories from economic data issued inside the halls of the Department of Labor. Instead, the DoL says, journalists will have to use government-owned computers, government-selected software, and government-owned Internet transmission lines to write their stories about the data issued by the department.

All news organizations have been ordered to remove their computers, tools, and other electronics from the Department of Labor by June 15 and will not be allowed to bring any of their own electronics into the place from that point forward.

Until this change, the practice had been that the economic data was released to journalists ahead of the official release date in a special “lock-up” room inside the DoL. Reporters then used their own computers and software to write their draft reports and create their graphics and tables on the data. Then, once the release time for the data was reached, the DoL allowed the journalists to transmit their stories from inside the special room over Internet lines that have been installed and paid for by news media outlets.

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