NEFAC Joins National Sunshine Week Celebration, Calls for FOIA Reform and State-Based Advocacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 | justin@nefirstamendment.org

The New England First Amendment Coalition is joining open-government advocates across the country to celebrate this 10th annual Sunshine Week.

This national campaign, beginning today, is an initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.

To recognize the occasion, NEFAC and 22 other organizations wrote to the Obama Administration calling for, among other things, improvements to the federal Freedom of Information Act. We wrote:

“For a more open government the Administration should support legislation that ensures agencies may not withhold information unless they reasonably foresee that disclosure will cause specific identifiable harm to an interest protected by an existing exemption, or if the disclosure is prohibited by law.”

The full letter can be read here. U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy from Vermont also voiced his support of FOIA reform in a column published today on our website, marking the first day of Sunshine Week.

On the state level, NEFAC recently announced its partnership with three Massachusetts organizations in  an effort to improve that state’s public records law. The Massachusetts Freedom of Information Alliance consists of NEFAC, the ACLU of MassachusettsCommon Cause Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, and the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

Each day during Sunshine Week, NEFAC will be publishing reports from all New England states, highlighting various freedom of information concerns and initiatives. We will be tweeting out links to right-to-know resources and participating in events to promote open government.

Also, in the spirit of Sunshine Week, we will be temporarily replacing the familiar NEFAC blue logo with a sun, hoping that it reminds everyone of those famous words by Justice Louis D. Brandeis:

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive more information about Sunshine Week, NEFAC and how you can contribute.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.