NEFAC Provides Opening Remarks at Annual R.I. Open Government Summit

Coalition Emphasizes Need for Transparency and Reminds Officials ‘These Are the People’s Records’

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

Remarks by NEFAC’s Amanda Milkovits

The New England First Amendment Coalition recently helped commence the 22nd annual Open Government Summit in Rhode Island, stressing the need for transparency within all levels of government.

The July 31 summit — hosted by the Office of the Attorney General and live-streamed from the Roger Williams University School of Law — featured presentations on the state’s Access to Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act.

View NEFAC’s remarks here and a full recording of the Open Government Summit here.

“In my work, I’ve always seen public servants as really critical to understanding the government and how it operates,” said Amanda Milkovits, a reporter at The Boston Globe and long-time NEFAC board member, to open the summit.

Open Government Summit Recording

“Like reference librarians, the very best ones are extremely helpful in helping us find information to understand how the government operates because they understand that transparency is critical to a functioning democracy,” she said.

Milkovits quoted Rhode Island state representative and former Providence police sergeant Ray Hull to emphasize the obligation local and state officials have to citizens:

She said Hull once told her, “These are not my reports. These are the people’s reports.”

This is the second consecutive year NEFAC provided remarks at the summit. The coalition is the region’s leading advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know about government.

Most recently in Rhode Island, NEFAC called for more government transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic and spotlighted ongoing secrecy within the state, sponsored a free legal hotline for local journalists and released a guide on the First Amendment rights to protest and cover political demonstrations as a member of the press.

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.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.