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News Archives by Date

June 2011

New Florida governor moves to restrict public access, despite the state’s progressive public access laws

WTSP.com (Tampa Bay) June 29,2011

Adoptees in RI may soon get access to birth records

Providence Journal June 15, 2011

Survey shows many elected officials keep their schedules a secret. Among them: Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray

San Jose Mercury News June 11, 2011

Mass Development claims the public has no right to know what its legal bills are

Commonwealth Magazine June 11, 2011

April 2011

NEFAC files amicus brief: Identities of those who get largest public pensions in NH should be public record

April 25, 2011

Globe finds state agencies may be unaware of existence of Public Records law, or even First Amendment

Boston.com April 4, 2011

March 2011

Globe sues state, in challenge to Patrick Administration’s distaste for transparency

Boston.com March 26, 2022

Councilor gets arrested and police adopt new policy: Limit public information on arrests!

Concord Monitor March 20, 2011

Knight Foundation survey finds lackluster federal response to FOIA requests

The Knight Foundation March 12, 2011

February 2011

Retaliation? Cape Cod fire board bans laptops, but just some, from public meetings

Cape Cod Times February 24, 2011

Georgia AG gets tough with public officials who violate public access law

Atlanta Journal-Constitution February 15, 2011

Mass. agency refuses to release public rebate records, claims privacy exemption

CommonWealth Magazine February 8, 2011

January 2011

Gov. Patrick’s second-term motto: Redact Government Records?

CommonWealth Magazine January 13, 2011

December 2010

New York Times Pentagon Papers attorney Floyd Abrams fears indiscriminate postings by Wikileaks may lead to US restrictions on responsible national security reporting

The Wall Street Journal December 29, 2010

Texas high court privatizes public employees DOBs – but state sells DOBs of private citizens to marketing companies

The Dallas Morning News December 3, 2010

November 2010

NEFAC Appoints Rose Cavanagh Executive Director

New England First Amendment Coalition November, 2010

Brockton officials decide that cell phone numbers of city officials, taxpayer-funded, are unlisted to the public

Enterprise News November 22, 2010

State backpedals on prison threat to blogger, as someone in authority remembers there is a First Amendment

The Boston Globe November 12, 2010

Mass. Agency Gives Public Records To Website, Then Threatens Blogger With Prison If He Does Not Remove Documents From Site

The Boston Globe November 11, 2010

October 2010

Oregon state pension system fights to keep pensions secret

The Oregonian October 27, 2010

Channel 5 Investigates: Patrick Administration blocks far too many public records requests

The Boston Channel (WCVB TV) October 21, 2010

ACLU in Vermont sues after state rebuffs public records request

The Boston Globe October 19, 2010

Judge orders state of RI to pay ACLU attorney fees in records dispute

The Boston Globe October 11, 2010

Maine company wants county real estate records – Court will rule on county denials

The Portland Press Herald October 5, 2010

September 2010

New Jersey Drastically Cuts Costs of Providing Documents to the Public

New Jersey Star-Ledger September 16, 2010

Transparency pushed aside again: SEC wants to do its policing in secret

USA Today September 16, 2010

August 2010

Maine Agency Demands $36,000 Fee for Possibly Embarrassing Emails

Sun Journal August 16, 2010

Missouri Health Officials Purge Recent Data; Too Costly to Save, They Claim

stltoday.com August 16, 2010

Mass. Ethics Comission, Never Very Transparent, Goes Nearly Dark

The Boston Globe August 14, 2010

Vermont Agency Admits Records are Public, But Denies Access Anyway

New England Business Journal August 3, 2010

July 2010

D.C. Judge Resorts to Prior Restraint, AND Declares First Amendment Concerns to be Secondary

The National Law Journal July 26, 2010

Error Takes Teeth Out of Allegedly Tougher Open Meeting Law in Mass.

Boston Globe July 20,2010

What transparency? Some Mass. Congress Members Hide Earmark Information

Boston Globe July 12, 2010

May 2010

Michigan Legislator, Confused by Media Proliferation, Wants to License Reporters

Fox News May 28, 2010

Yet Again, Loophole-ridden Vermont Public Records Law is Criticized

Bloomberg Businessweek May 28, 2010

Could School Committee Members Who Blog Be Violating Open Meeting Law?

Amherst Bulletin May 28, 2010

‘Enemies’ the Cause of Public Records Request Delay

The Boston Herald May 18, 2010

City Settles Suit in Return for Confidentiality Agreement, but Plaintiff Lawyer Speaks Out

Bloomberg Businessweek May 28, 2010

Could School Committee Members Who Blog Be Violating Open Meeting Law?

Amherst Bulletin May 28, 2010

Epidemic of Open Meeting Law Violations in Southeastern Massachusetts

March 2010

Worcester Telegram & Gazette March 10, 2010

>>Now, City Wants its Money Back

In Peabody, Local Official Insists Open Meeting Law be Obeyed

The Salem News March 29, 2010

NonProfits and Transparency in New Hampshire

Nonprofit Quarterly March 22, 2010

Yet Again, Loophole-ridden Vermont Public Records Law is Criticized

South Coast Today March 7, 2010

Executive Sessions Challenged – By Some Who Participate

Eagle-Tribune March 2, 2010

Commission Finds East Hampton Violated FOI Act

February 2010

The Hartford Courant February 17, 2010

>>Water Development Task Force Meeting Agendas Were Hidden From Public

Brockton Enterprise Vindicated in Libel Suit

Enterprise News February 11, 2010

>>For Second Time in a Month, Enterprise and Lawyer Jonathon Albano Win a Case

Wareham Selectmen Offer Mea Culpa for Open Meeting Law Violations

South Coast Today February 10, 2010

>> D.A. Orders Records Made Public

VT Judge Says Public’s Right to Know Trumps Cop Probe

Rutland Herald February 10, 2010

>>Files Were Sealed by a Complaint Judge on the Flimsiest of Excuses

Massachusetts High Court’s Judiciary/Media Committee Considers Revising Courthouse Public Access Guidelines

Media Law February 8, 2010

>>Journalists Urged to respond to Committee Survey; DOWNLOAD SURVEY HERE

Rhode Island Town Bills Councilman for Requested Documents

Providence Journal February 2, 2010

>>Town Has Kept Councilman Waiting Since August

Do CT Inmates Have Right to Info on their Guards?

New Haven Advocate February 10, 2010

>>Fired Inmate Worker Triggers Information Rampage

Does New Hampshire Law Shielding Anulments Mute Free Speech?

New Haven AdvocateFebruary 8, 2010

>>Powerful Auto Lobby Pushes Bill to the House

Proposal on CT Notices Imperils Public’s Right to Know

New Britain Herald February 8, 2010

>>Legislature Moving Public Notices From Newspapers to the Internet

Decision on New Hampshire Suit a Victory for Open Government

The Telegraph February 7, 2010

>>New Hampshire Supreme Court Forces Local Government Center to Release a List of Employee Salaries

Connecticut Newspapers Join in Fight to Protect Public Access
New Britain Herald February 3, 2010

>>Awareness Campaign Tries to Keep Public Notices in Newspaper

Online Media Legal Network Partners with National Freedom of Information Coalition to Assist with Freedom of Information Lawsuit

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society February 1, 2010

Bedford, New Hampshire Welcomes Voters’ Emailed Election Queries

January 2010

Bedford Journal Janurary 29, 2010

>> The First Time any Moderator in New Hampshire has Provided the Community with a Direct Access by the Internet

Mass. High Court Rules School Board Violated Open Meeting Law

Boston Globe December 31, 2009

>>Court Says Governmental Bodies Can’t Circumvent Law with Private Emails

Court Opens Pay Records Sought by New Hampshire Firefighters

Associated Press Janurary 29, 2010

>>Chief Justice Says Public Access Means Scrutiny of Wages paid to Particular Job Titles

Worcester Taps Taxes in Battle Over Public Records

>>Police Chief Redacts Internal Affairs Files, Thwarting Mass. General Law

After 30 Years, Maine Researcher Denied Subject Files

Bangor Daily News Janurary 25, 2010

Connecticut High Court Misses Chance to Open Secret Dockets

Hartford Business Journal Janurary 25, 2010

December 2009

Officials Lag in Reporting Information on Donors

Boston Globe December 30, 2009

November 2009

>> Weak law does little to push candidates

Harvard Offers Legal Help for Online Journalists

Nieman Journalism Lab November 19, 2009

Hidden Emails a Continuing Embarrassment for Mayor Menino

>> Read Boston Globe Coverage

Here.
Here.
Here.
And Here.

October 2009

US Supreme Court Rejects Diocese Plea to Keep Abuse Records Secret

The Boston Globe October 6, 2009

>>Several newspapers seeking the release of more than 12,000 pages from 23 sexual assault lawsuits against six priests

>>Read earlier articles

July 2009

Bridgeport Diocese to Appeal Order that it Make Public Priest Abuse Files

The Boston Globe July 18, 2009

>> Church has fought a public accounting of sexual assaults by priests since 2002

Swansea School Committeeman Charged Colleagues with Violating Open Meeting Law

The Herald News July 17, 2009

>>Members picked new school superintendent in private

In Northern New England, Officials Faulted for Faulty Financial Disclosure

NENPA July 2, 2009

>> Maine, NH and Vt ranked near bottom in national survey

June 2009

Thanks to Legal Assistance from NU Law students and Bingham McCutchen LLC, First Amendment Center Wins its First Public Records Lawsuit

The Patriot Ledger June 18, 2009

>>Read the Superior Court order

>>Read the series

New Mass. Ethics Reform Bill Weakens Open Meeting Law

June 26, 2009

>> Law weakens penalties for violators

Newton Officials Put Public Tour of $200 Million New High School Off-limits to Press

Media Nation June 25, 2009

>>City says new building is “private property”

Mass. Legislature Holds Public Access Hearings on Friday

Commonwealth of Massachusetts June 25, 2009

May 2009

Judge Orders Correction Department To Make Records Public

The Boston Globe May 15, 2009

>>Civil liberties union of Massachusetts wins lawsuit

April 2009

Maine Legislators Want to Privatize Public Employee Salary Information

Kennebec Journal April 10, 2009

February 2009

District Attorney rules Open Meeting law violation in Boxford

The Tri-Town Transcript Feb. 24, 2009

>> E-mails exchanged between health board members constitute Open Meeting law violation

Will Springfield city appointee be chosen in the dark?

The Springfield Republican Feb. 23, 2009

>>Residents wait to see if process to chose the city’s next chief financial overseer will fall under the state’s Open Meeting Law

Editorial warns that state official’s proposal would gut public records law.

The Hartford Courant Feb. 13, 2009

>>Connecticut’s Victim Advocate wants even more documents made exempt to public records disclosure

The Globe argues that public records reform is needed

The Boston Globe Feb. 8, 2009

>>Rep. Cabral’s bill is a good start to public records reform, but it doesn’t go far enough, says the Globe Editorial Board

Good news for a change – R.I. legislators receive high marks in open meeting compliance

The Pawtucket Times Feb. 21, 2009

>>Lawmakers receive straight A’s for their compliance

State calls Cambridge public records charge unwarranted

The Daily News Tribune Feb. 13, 2009

>>The $14,000 quoted by the Cambridge Public Schools for a list of students goes too far

Rhode Island judicial applications piling up in state offices

The Providence Journal Feb. 15, 2009

>>Will public documents be destroyed when the applications are purged?

Mass town – at long last – decides to obey Open Meeting Law

The Enterprise Feb. 5, 2009

>>Bucking the trend set by his predecessors, Middleboro Board of Selectman Chair Patrick Rogers pledges to release minutes of executive sessions.

Conn. towns want disclosure law repealed

The Hartford Courant Feb. 3, 2009

>>Town officials claim that compliance with the law is too costly
The New London Day thinks towns should stop complaining

>When Colman Herman sent out 44 requests to Massachusetts government agencies seeking records deemed public by law, only two officials responded as the law required. One who didn’t told Colman a record was confidential simply because the official had stamped the word “confidential” across the top READ THE FULL STORY

ProJo Columnist Ed Fitzpatrick raises concerns about state-sanctioned “private trials”

The Providence Journal Feb. 1, 2009

>>With no opposition by the state Supreme Court, R.I. prepares to hold privately-funded civil trials behind closed doors.

Judge orders Federal Government to respond to FOIA

The Associated Press Feb. 28, 2009

>>Watchdog group Judicial Watch files lawsuit against the government relating to the shooting of a drug smuggler

Open government or open wallet? Portland, OR mayor demands $1.5 million for records

KATU.com Feb. 25, 2009

>>The records request may shed light on an alleged inappropriate relationship between the Mayor and an intern

Pentagon to reportedly lift ban on coffin photos

The Boston Globe Feb. 26, 2009

>>The decision will now lie with the families of the deceased

ACLU charges police retaliation behind criminal charges against reporter

The Michigan Messenger Feb. 20, 2009

>>The Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asks a judge to consider whether the charges against Diane Bukowski will have a chilling affect on news gathering.

NY Gov blocks release of Senate questionnaires

The Associated Press Feb. 19, 2009

>>The process that culminated in appointing Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate is shrouded in secrecy

U.S. Treasury must release bailout records

The Associated Press Feb. 20, 2009

>>A federal judge orders the Treasury to comply with Fox Business Network’s FOIA request.

California company agrees to release the names of readers who left anonymous comments on a news story

York Daily Record Feb. 23, 2009

>>The names of those who left comments are subpoenaed as part of a murder investigation

Ill. AG urges public records reforms after Blagojevich scandal

The Chicago Tribune Feb. 18, 2009

>> Could Chicago’s reputation of a bastion of political corruption be turning around?

Activists fight to open up federal court records; feds fight back

The New York Times Feb. 12, 2009

>>An easy solution to a complicated problem?

As Delaware seeks public records reform, legislators seek an exemption

The Delaware News Journal Feb. 6, 2009

>>A new law up for debate in the Delaware state legislature will strengthen public records law and extend the Freedom of Information Act’s purview to the legislature. Meanwhile, an amendment to the bill seeks to keep the e-mails of public officials secret.

Computer files deleted on outgoing Texas Speaker’s last day

The Austin American-Statesman Feb. 5, 2009

>>Citing office protocol, the hard drives of public computers were erased on the last day of Rep. Tom Craddick’s last day as speaker of the Texas House; raising questions that public records may have been deleted

Penn.’s new right-to-know law being largely ignored

York Daily Record Feb. 7, 2009

>> Records show many information requests are being denied

January 2009

Key Bay State legislator will seek to strengthen public records laws

Commonwealth Magazine Winter 2009

>>Rep. Antonio Cabral (D – New Bedford), the Chairman of the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, will file a bill aimed at revamping the state’s public records law

Libel suit against New Bedford Standard-Times dropped

New England Press Association Bulletin January 2009

Editor of the Standard-Times: “The right of the newspaper or any ordinary citizen to express his or her opinion about the political process is the foundation of all our freedoms. We will continue to express that right vigorously, especially when we believe the public’s interests are at stake, as was certainly the case here”

Union gets one step closer to information

The Concord Monitor Jan. 21, 2009

>>A New Hampshire judge ruled that a firm which provides services to public employees is subject to the state’s right-to-know law.

Music-sharing case to be streamed online

The Boston Globe Jan. 14, 2009

>>U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner approved a request to make the trial involving the Recording Industry Association of America and a Boston University student available live on the internet.

Proposed identity theft bill will limit access to public information.

The Patriot Ledger Jan. 14, 2009

>>The bill, filed by Rep. Alicea (D – Charlton), will make census data and street lists unavailable to inquiries by the public or press.

Judge rules that donor identities cannot remain secret

The Mercury News Jan. 29, 2008

>>The donors who funded the controversial Proposition 8 initiative in California lost their request to remain anonymous.

>The New York Times weighs in

Washington state court levies heavy fine for withholding public information

The Seattle Times Jan. 16, 2009

>>After a 12-year battle, the state Supreme Court ruled that the $124,000 fine paid by King County for not releasing public records to businessman Armen Yousoufian was too low.

Blagojevich ignores information request

The State Journal-Register Jan. 18, 2009

>>The Illinois Governor has denied a request by the Journal-Register for his administration’s clemency records

Reporter questioned in Florida felony case

The Sun News Jan. 24, 2009

>>A Sun News reporter was questioned by defense attorneys as to how he was able to attain financial documents that pertain to case involving the misuse of public funds. The reporter’s answer? He filed FOIAs and stayed completely within the law.

The AP files request for prison investigation records

The Missoulian Jan. 21, 2009

>>Amid allegations of sexual misconduct of Montana prison employees, the AP says the public has a right to the documents.

Bush may be gone, but his wiretapping program to continue.

The New York Times Jan. 15, 2009

>>A court has required telecommunications companies to continue intercepting calls and emails made by suspected terrorists.

Judge orders murder suspect’s records sealed

The Austin American-Statesman Jan. 14, 2009

>>The ruling comes after the suspect’s mental and medical records were aired on television.

In California, political donors demand anonymity

San Francisco Chronicle Jan. 09, 2009

>>Supporters of California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, have filed a lawsuit to keep the campaign finance records from public view.

Philadelphia Inquirer Sued

Philadelphia Inquirer Jan. 09, 2009

>>The Chief Executive of a charter school alleges that the paper wrote inaccurate and misleading stories about the school due to failed business talks he had with the paper’s publisher.

Congress kicks off session with efforts toward greater transparency

The Associated Press Jan. 8, 2009

>>The House voted on two bills that will increase public access to presidential information.

Baltimore police officers above the law?
The Baltimore Sun Jan. 7, 2009

>>A decision by the Baltimore Police department to no longer release the names of officers that have killed or injured people is prompting wide-spread criticism.

District Attorney in murder case tries to prevent release of witness names

Albany Times Union Jan. 6, 2009

>>In an attempt to discourage witness intimidation, the DA in the murder trial of a teenager accused of killing a 10-year-old girl has asked media outlets to refrain from releasing witness names.

Crime information to be withheld

The Arizona Republic Jan. 9, 2009

>> Police Department cites concerns about identify theft.

Accused dentist tries to bar media from the courtroom.

The Sacramento Bee Jan. 01, 2009

>> A dentist accused of molestation has asked a judge to prevent the press from covering the trial

UPDATE! Dentist ceases efforts to bar press from courtroom

D.C. Blog gets no respect with FOIA request?

Greater Greater Washington Jan. 5, 2009

>>Washington metro agency denies FOIA request by a local blog citing that they “are not a representative of the news media”

December 2008

Vermont takes important step for public information access

Brattleboro Reformer Dec. 27, 2008

>>A new service launched this month allows anyone to search and purchase Vermont criminal conviction records.

Salem News blows whistle on open meeting law violations in Harverhill and Peabody

The Salem News Dec. 17, 2008

>>The Salem Op-Ed board notices a disturbing trend.

Vt. criminal records now online

Burlington Free Press, December 15, 2008

>>Running counter to a trend toward privacy, Vermont decides to put criminal records online.

Gov. Patrick Once Again Tries to Keep Public Documents Private

The Boston Globe, Dec. 6, 2008

>>The Joint Committee on Transportation has requested that Governor Patrick release documents which detail consultants’ reports on the estimated cost of Patrick’s proposed Transportation reforms.

ACLU sues RI town for withholding arrest record

The Providence Journal, Dec. 5, 2008

>>The American Civil Liberties Union says the North Smithfield police department illegally denied a workers’ rights leader the record of the arrest of a man charged with using fraudulent identification.

Columnist Richard Lodge on Patrick’s Open Meeting Law

The MetroWest Daily News, Oct. 31, 2008

Lodge says Gov. Deval Patrick has little respect for the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, which is intended to keep public information and planning accessible.

Arkansas Supreme Court won’t hear request by the Democrat-Gazette in the case of murdered news anchor

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Dec. 20, 2008

>>The Newspaper claims a judge went too far by not releasing the jail logs of a suspect in the murder of a Little Rock news anchor

Feds Reject FOIA

Bloomberg News Dec. 12, 2008

>> The recipients of close to $2 trillion in taxpayer-funded emergency loans will remain shrouded as the Federal Reserve rejects a FOIA filed by Bloomberg News.

New York Times sued

New York Times Dec. 30, 2008

>>Lobbyist files suit claiming that a front-page story falsely portrayed her and an alleged affair with John McCain.

Former Anthrax-Suspect Loses Most Recent Attempt at Libel Suit

The New York Times Dec. 15, 2008

>>The Supreme Court has refused to entertain another attempt by former Army scientist Steven Hatfill to revive his libel case against the New York Times.

Alaska Governor’s Office Ducks Records Release Request

Anchorage Daily News Dec. 10, 2008

>>Executive privilege cited in refusing to release telephone and e-mail messages involving Todd Palin.

UPDATE! Alaska resident brings the fight to the courts

Judge Orders Gag Order in Murder Case

Ventura County Star Dec. 11, 208

>>California Judge prevents local paper from printing information regarding the murder of a local 6-year-old boy

UPDATE! Judge lifts gag order


Deleted E-mails Still Public Record

Columbus Dispatch Dec. 9. 2008

>>The Ohio Supreme Court rules that deleted e-mails are public if they deal with official business

UPDATE: Free Press Reporter Refuses to Reveal Sources Under Oath

>> Ashenfelter invokes both First and Fifth Amendments while on the stand

Follow the story…

The Detroit Free Press Dec. 8, 2008

>>The saga continues between Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter and ex-prosecutor Richard Convertino.

UPDATE: Judge asks to hold reporter in contempt

Will You Take a Seat at Obama’s Table?

The AFP Dec. 7, 2008

>>President-elect Obama pledges transparency throughout the transition and invites citizens to review documents and meetings on his website.

Michigan Judge Rules Against FOIA Request

Livingston Daily Dec. 8, 2008

>>A school spending reform organization, Education Action Group, filed a FOIA for the e-mail records of a teacher’s union president that were written from a publicly-funded e-mail account.

Maryland State Trooper Poses as Activist to Seek Out Terror Suspects

L.A. Times Dec. 7, 2008

>>An undercover trooper joined various non-violence and activism groups and later recorded many of the members as terror suspects. Among those listed? Two Nuns, a lobbyist, and former congressional candidate.

Pennsylvania Counties Learning to Deal with New Open Records Law

The Intelligencer Dec. 7, 2008

>>Officials find the cost of the new requirements are putting a strain on already tight budgets.

SF suit demands bills, votes database

San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 4, 2008

>> Open-government advocates ask that the Superior Court force the Legislative Counsel to give up an electronic database which contains records of bills and lawmakers’ voting

Craigslist comments turn into libel case

Associated Press, Dec. 2, 2008

>>A man who posted comments about his ex and her attorney in the “rants and raves” section of the site now faces a libel suit

November 2008

ProJo asks for jury questionnaires

The Providence Journal, Nov. 26, 2008

>>The paper is asking the high court to share forms filled out by more than 400 prospective jurors to hear the Rhode Island nightclub fire case of 2003, which killed 100 people.

“Brainstorming” or illegal closed meeting?

The Providence Journal, Nov. 25, 2008

>>ProJo columnist Edward Fitzpatrick explains why the answer to government secrecy is not, well, more secrecy. Fitzpatrick expresses outrage at legislator’s proposal to do just that.

RI legislator calls for secret meeting of entire house or representatives

Providence Journal, Nov. 21, 2008

>>One legislator thinks the fiscal crisis cannot be solved if the public is allowed access to government deliberations.

Q-Pac retracts threats to student press

Yale Daily News, Nov. 10, 2008

>> After instructing the administration not to do interviews with student reporters and trying to kick out the Society of Professional Journalists chapter, the school reneges on the threats

Read commentary from the Hartford Courant on Quinnipiac’s censorship-inclined president:

Setting An Autocratic Example
President caves on free speech ban

Herald takes state to court over parole board voting records

Boston Herald, Nov. 13, 2008

Radford, Va. refuses to explain why FOIA docs were blacked-out

The Roanoke Times, Nov. 16, 2008

>> When a reporter from The Roanoke Times asked the city for a copy of the summer months’ FOIA requests, he received heavily redacted documents, without legal explanation.

Rockland police chief defends leak on news site

>> The chief of police says he ordered an officer to leak info about who posted on the Rockland News website. The poster warned of a sobriety checkpoint

Dover paper demands unsealing of docs in ongoing investigation

Foster’s Daily Democrat, Nov. 11, 2008

Public Employees Seeks to Remain Anonymous

Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Nov. 29, 2008

>> Wisconsin papers file suit against state employee union for refusing to release the names of workers

Audit: Wisconsin records not very open

The Lakeland Times, Nov. 26, 2008

>>A statewide audit found that 30 percent of open records requests were not granted in a legal manner. Government workers demanded identification, reasoning for requests (both violation of state law) and in some cases ignored the request completely.

Police Ignore Public Records Law

Worcester Telegram, Nov. 09, 2008

>> Police already pocketed $1,500 for public docs, then decided the legal deadline for providing the documents doesn’t apply to them.

Ill. court forces governor to give up subpoena in FOIA case

Chicago Tribune, Nov. 20, 2008

>>Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to get around producing subpoenas sent to him by the Better Government Association. An appellate court says the documents (part of a federal government investigation) are subject to FOIA requests

Court will not fine Locy for contempt in anthrax sourcing case

Associated Press, Nov. 18, 2008

>> Protecting a source who shared information about the since-exonerated Army scientist named in anthrax attacks, Toni Locy was ordered to pay up to $5,000 each day she withheld the source’s name.

Court cripples effort to find missing White House email

Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2008

>> An appeals court decided that the Bush administration can dismiss FOIA requests for documents that could explain as much as 225 days worth of missing emails.

Calif. school board approves closed meeting

The Press-Enterprise, Nov. 17, 2008

>> Despite murky resignation details and a $300,000 severance package, the Rialto school board voted to uphold the closed meeting status, under which the resignation of its superintendent was decided.

Calif. high school paper admin. shut down to restart next year

San Mateo Daily Journal, Nov. 14, 2008

The Scots Express was shut down last week after a satirical article featuring the writer’s “sexiness.”

California CEO may have hid wife’s pay raise

Merced Sun-Star, Nov. 13, 2008

News org’s demand docs from 2001 anthrax case

Associated Press, Nov. 12, 2008

>> The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times are both asking for public documents on Stephen Hatfill, an Army scientist whose home was raided on live TV and accused of anthrax poisoning.

Can Pres. Obama add transparency to gov’t with Web?

Nieman Watch Dog, Nov. 12, 2008

The Nieman Foundation’s new report offers a guide to how the incoming administration could open up government in an effort to reverse the secrecy of the Bush administration

Groups call for more open presidency, resuscitated FIOA

The Raw Story, Nov. 12, 2008

>> After eight years of increased government secrecy, more than 60 groups are calling for Obama to reverse the trend

FBI
releases file on Halberstam, but withholds many pages

NY City News Service, Nov. 6, 2008

The New York reporter was watched by the FBI for over two decades

Bloomberg News wants to know what securities the Federal Reserve is taking on

Bloomberg News, Nov. 7, 2008

October 2008

Colorado judge rules that governor’s use of private phone for government business is off-limits to the public.

The Denver Post, Oct. 15, 2008

Hotel bombarded for posting McCain/Palin signs

Washington Post, Oct. 18, 2008

Illinois Department of Health Care rejects FOIA request for funding info.

Associated Press, Oct. 22, 2008

>> Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave out state-subsidized health care, but won’t release expense information

Tech biggies move to protect free speech online

New York Times, Oct. 27, 2008

>> Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to create a global code that would make cooperation with China’s online censorship impossible

News organizations get redacted version of OJ Simpson trial jury forms

Las Vegas Review-Journal Oct. 21, 2008

Bailout records kept secret

Pro Publica Oct. 22, 2008

>> U.S. Treasury Dept. is keeping closed the documents on its contract to Bank of New York Mellon. In records, the Treasury blacked out how much the bank will receive from the $700 billion bailout.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Minnesota Exit Polling

Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune Oct. 16, 2008

>> In response to a law suit filed by major media organizations, a U.S. judge has ruled that Minnesota’s ban on pollsters operating within 100 feet of polling places is unconstitutional.

Palin emails priced at $15M

MSNBC, Oct. 17, 2008

Detroit Free Press Defends Reporter’s Right to Conceal Sources

Detroit Free Press Oct. 14, 2008

Virginia Board of Elections Rules to Ban Campaign Clothing from Polling Stations

WCAV TV, Charlottesville VA Oct. 14, 2008

NYC teachers’ union sues over politics-free policy on campuses

New York Times Oct. 11, 2008

Anonymous Website Posters Required to Reveal Identities

Beta News Oct. 8, 2008


Secrecy and allegations cracking Palin’s transparency claims

Associated Press Oct. 7, 2008

As Gov. Sarah Palin refuses to hand over controversial emails, sensitive policy documents, and backs a new state law which deems records of state-funded BlackBerrys and cell phones off-limits to the public, her claim to government openness looks weak

Worcester D.A. Rules Charlton Board of Selectmen Violated Open Meeting Law

Media Law Oct. 13, 2008

>> The D.A. agrees with a complaint filed by The Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the Charlton Board of Selectment should not have met in private when evaluating the performance of Town Administrator Robin Craver.

Putnam Connecticut Town Officials to take FOIA Course

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Oct 29, 2008

Another town website brought down by new Connecticut law

Republican American, Oct. 18, 2008

Vermont ruling on public officials’ email deludes open government laws

Burlington Free Press, Oct. 14, 2008

>> Though Vermont public officials’ emails showed a conflict of interest, state Superior Court orders them to be kept private

Call for Access to Police Complaint Review Board Hearings

Springfield Republican Oct. 7, 2008

>> Springfield City Councilors have filed a proposal that would allow public access to the police complaint review board meetings, an important step for a police department that has been accused of mistreatment by minority communities.

New Law Shuts Down Conn. Town Websites

Hartford Courant, Oct. 3, 2008

>> A new law requiring towns to post minutes of meetings online within 24 hours is forcing some Connecticut towns to scrap their sites because their small staffs can’t keep up. No extra funding for IT help is coming from the state, which passed the law on Wednesday.

Enterprise Libel Case to Go to Trial

Media Law, Oct. 1, 2008

>> The Massachusetts Appeals Court has refused to dismiss a libel case against the Brockton Enterprise despite the newspaper’s defense of using the “fair report” privilege.

Reporter fights to keep source of 2004 story confidential

Detroit Free Press, Oct. 14, 2008

Torture of 14 Guantanamo prisoners kept under wraps by U.S. government

Agence France Presse, Oct. 29, 2008

>> The ACLU has been denied its FOI request for copies of testimony of abuse in the Cuban prison

Hartford mayor appeals FOI ruling

Hartford Courant, Oct. 28, 2008

>> Mayor Eddie Perez hopes to avoid a $500 fine and FOI lessons — his penalty for illegally holding closed-door meetings.

NYTimes Weighs In on Freedom of Speech at Quinnipiac University

The New York Times, Oct 28, 2008

In an editorial, The Times questions recent actions by Quinnipiac University to limit the access of student journalists to administrators, coaches, and athletes

Town site leak causes uproar in Rockland

Boston Globe, Oct. 27, 2008

Minn. court blocks law that would keep news organizations 100 feet from exit polls

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Oct. 16, 2008

September 2008

Law Suit Filed Over Minnesota Poll Access

Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sept 30, 2008

>> Six news groups, including The Associated Press, CBS, CNN have filed a lawsuit over a Minnesota statue that bans non-voters from approaching polling stations. The statue would interfere with attempts of journalists to conduct exit-polling

“Designated media area” at Arlington National Cemetery defined, but not much changed

Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, Sept. 29, 2008

University of Nebraska denies student journalist access to administrators

Inside Higher Ed, Sept 24, 2008

Detroit mayor plead the Fifth 82 times during deposition in newspaper lawsuit

Detroit Free Press, Sept. 16, 2008

Groups warn of growing government secrecy

The Associated Press, Sept. 9, 2008

>> Government secrecy is on the rise by almost every measure, according to a report by a coalition of government oversight groups.

Judge says government must produce water boarding memos or explain why they should be kept secret

The Associated Press, Sept. 4, 2008

Police arrest anti-war march to GOP convention

The Boston Globe, Sept. 4, 2008

Group promises further disruptions

The Boston Globe, Sept. 3, 2008

>> Riot police for a second day used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse protesters trying to disrupt the Republican National Convention and made several more arrests on top of the more than 250 people jailed Monday on charges of damaging property and conspiracy to riot.

July 2008

Judge: Reporters won’t testify in grand jury probe

Altoona Mirror, July 18, 2008

>>A judge threw out subpoenas issued to 15 Pennsylvania journalists who were summoned to testify at a hearing on whether a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate alleged violations of grand jury secrecy.

Judge blocks questioning of Detroit reporters

mlive.com, July 17, 2008

>>Attorneys for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and ex-Chief of Staff Christine Beatty are barred from questioning two Detroit Free Press reporters on how they obtained sexually explicit text messages, a judge ruled Thursday

The Right to Know

The New York Times, July 17, 2008

>>In the face of near hysterical opposition from the Bush administration, the Senate Democratic leadership intends to take up a proposed shield law to provide journalists with limited protection against being compelled to reveal confidential sources in federal court. A similar measure won House approval last October in a bipartisan 398-to-21 landslide. But the White House, as ever, is playing the fear card, orchestrating a barrage of warnings that the law would “wreak havoc” on national security and “completely eviscerate” the ability to investigate terrorism

Appeals court rules against Hatfill

Baltimore Sun, July 15, 2008

>> A federal appeals court has ruled against a former Army scientist who sued The New York Times over columns linking him to deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday that Steven Hatfill was a public figure and had to prove actual malice to win his libel lawsuit.

Foreign courts take aim at our free speech
The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2008

Senate should vote to approve U.S. shield law

The Times and Democrat, July 5, 2008

WA court: public records can be kept from inmates
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 3, 2008

Hawaii journos get shield law
Editor & Publisher, July 3, 2008

High court keeps hands off libel lawsuit
Argus Leader, July 2, 2008

>>South Dakota’s Supreme Court refused to step into the middle of a libel case brought by a former Sioux Falls development official against the Argus Leader and its executive editor.

June 2008

White House may keep documents in e-mail flap private, judge rules

The Washington Post, June 17, 2008

6 Pa. news outlets subpoenaed in grand jury probe

Associated Press, June 12, 2008

A reporter pleads the fifth: What did music critic Jim DeRogatis have to fear from testifying in the R. Kelly trial?

Chicago Reader, June 12, 2008

Sens. Obama, Coburn introduce spending transparency bill
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, June 4, 2008

>> Barack Obama and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced a bill designed to make federal spending more transparent

Sun-Times reporter refuses to answer questions at R. Kelly trial

Editor & Publisher, June 4, 2008

Federal appeals court hears arguments over release of Chicago police files

The Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2008

Quaker professor works out deal over California loyalty oath

San Francisco Chronicle, June 2, 2008

>>A Quaker college instructor who was not allowed to start a teaching job because she refused to sign a state-required loyalty oath reached a settlement with the California State University system

May 2008

Reporter subpoenaed to identify confidential source

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, May 30, 2008

>>U.S. District Court Judge ordered Washington Times reporter William Gertz to identify the confidential sources who provided information for a 2006 story he wrote about the prosecution of a Chinese spy ring in California

Joe Lieberman, would-be censor

The New York Times, May 25, 2008

Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut pressured YouTube to pull down videos he does not like

Propagandists first, journalists second

Yahoo News, May 20, 2008

>> When a journalist uncovers a government secret, which comes first–national security or the public’s right to know?

Supreme Court upholds child pornography law

The New York Times, May 20, 2008

Shield law for journalists a safeguard for democracy

Bucyrus Telegraph Forum, May 19, 2008

FOIA law on attorney fees can be applied retroactively

NY lawmakers want to criminalize violent Web postings

Newsday, May 13, 2008

Information that doesn’t come freely

The New York Times, May 11, 2008

>>Nina Bernstein, a Times reporter, wrote a front-page article last June about the deaths of prisoners in the fastest-growing form of incarceration in America, immigration detention.

From places unexpected, support for the press

The New York Times, May 10, 2008

>>An unusual cast of conservatives has added momentum to a bill that would protect the confidentiality of reporters’ sources, even as the Bush administration has lobbied vigorously against the idea.

Reporter challenges ruling over sources in anthrax case

USA Today, May 9, 2008

>> A federal appeals court appeared reluctant today to uphold hefty fines for a reporter who refuses to identify the sources of her stories about the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Report: US lacks plan to counter terrorist messages

Associated Press, May 8, 2008

Site keeps students posted

The Baltimore Sun, May 2, 2008

April 2008

Federal railroad accident reports now available online
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, April 2, 2008

>>On April 2, the Federal Railroad Administration announced that post investigation reports of major train accidents would now be available online.

Click here, to view the reports.

March 2008

Lawyers for ‘USA Today’ Reporter Ask Court to Drop Contempt Charge

Editor & Publisher, March 29, 2008

>>Lawyers for a former USA Today reporter have asked a federal appeals court to reverse a contempt of court citation against the journalist, who refuses to reveal her sources for stories about the criminal investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Irked by a ticket? Now drivers can rate the officer who issued it

The New York Times, March 22, 2008

>>Some law enforcement officials, strongly object to the site, arguing it exposes officers to resentment and reprisal and vow to pursue legislation to block it.

Supreme Court to rule on broadcast indecency

The Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2008

>>The Supreme Court agreed to rule for the first time in 30 years on what constitutes indecency on broadcast television and radio.

February 2008

Reporter held in contempt in anthrax case

The New York Times, Feb. 20, 2008

States push for cyber bully controls

USA Today, Feb. 6, 2008

Is ombudsman already in jeopardy?

Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2008

>>Hours before the new year, open-government groups won a key victory in their years-long fight to force government agencies to release documents without months, and sometimes years, of delay. The moment came when President Bush reluctantly signed a law enforcing better compliance with the Freedom of Information Act

But in his budget request in February, 2008, Bush proposed shifting a newly created ombudsman’s position from the National Archives and Records Administration to the Department of Justice. Because the ombudsman would be the chief monitor of compliance with the new law, that move is akin to killing the critical function, some members of Congress and watchdog groups say.

Times reporter subpoenaed over source for book

The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2008

>>A federal grand jury issued a subpoena to a reporter of The New York Times, apparently to try to force him to reveal his confidential sources for a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency

January 2008

Judge orders white house to divulge status of e-mails

The Washington Post, Jan. 9, 2008

>>A federal magistrate ordered the White House to reveal whether copies of possibly millions of missing e-mails are stored on backup tapes

December 2007

Media advocacy group requests public access to Sept.11-related court filings

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Dec. 21, 2007

>>The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press asked a federal court in Manhattan on Dec. 21 to require open access to records in the civil case over liability following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks

Congress votes to broaden openness law

The Washington Post, Dec. 19, 2007

>>Taking aim at Bush administration secrecy, Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill that would toughen the Freedom of Information Act and penalize government agencies that fail to surrender public documents on time

Senate Committee Votes to Allow TV Coverage of Supreme Court

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Dec. 14, 2007

>>A bitterly divided Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure that would allow camera access to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite the echoes of vocal opposition from the justices themselves

Senators Urge Passage of Revised FOIA Bill

Editor & Publisher, Dec. 5, 2007

October 2007

Media Shield Law Breezes Through House

The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2007

Toni Locy

For former USA Today reporter Toni Locy, who faced financial ruin for protecting sources, the clouds may be breaking. First, a US Court of Appeals put a hold on a judge’s order that Locy pay hefty fines from her own meager assets. And then, the Justice Department settled the lawsuit with the former government scientist who had demanded to know who her sources were.

Headlines and Exonerations

The New York Times, August 16, 2008

>> On Aug. 8, the Justice Department finally exonerated Steven J. Hatfill, acknowledging six years after labeling him a “person of interest” that he was not the man who killed five people with anthrax attacks on Congress and news organizations in 2001

Judge shows “willingness” to vacate Locy contempt order

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press,June 30, 2008

Anthrax settlement doesn’t address reporters’ issue

USA Today, June 30, 2008

>>The Justice Department’s $5.8 million settlement with Steven Hatfill, named a “person of interest” in the 2001 anthrax attacks, leaves unresolved his challenge to reporters’ rights in protecting sources of sensitive information.

Scientist is paid millions by U.S. Anthrax Suit

The New York Times, June 28, 2008

>>The Justice Department announced it would pay $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Steven J. Hatfill, a former Army biodefense researcher intensively investigated as a “person of interest” in the deadly anthrax letters of 2001

Thomas Mitchell: Time is running out for Toni Locy
Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 18, 2008

From places unexpected, support for the press

The New York Times, May 10, 2008

>> An unusual cast of conservatives has added momentum to a bill that would protect the confidentiality of reporters’ sources, even as the Bush administration has lobbied vigorously against the idea

Reporter challenges ruling over sources in anthrax case

USA Today, May 9, 2008

>>Former USA Today reporter Toni Locy appealed a judge’s order requiring her to pay up to $5,000 a day out of her own pocket until she gave up her sources

Pressed freedom

The Boston Globe, May 8, 2008

Hell on heels

American Journalism Review, April/May 2008

>>During a newspaper career that spanned two-and-a-half decades, Toni Locy said, she was never afraid on the job.

Not when she was writing about the mob in Philadelphia, not when she was defending not-so-flattering police stories to not-so-flattered police officers in Boston, not when she was portraying the president of the United States as an intern-canoodling liar in Washington, D.C.