One of the challenges facing journalists and other citizens, particularly in the age of electronic communication, is obtaining information from government officials when they exchange so much of their information by text and email.
The New York State Bar Association is hosting a number of forums on the topic, and it recently hosted a panel discussion at Syracuse University on the Freedom of Information Law.
The forum, held Oct. 16, addressed a number of related topics, first focusing on the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), the Open Meetings Law, and the government’s efforts to fulfill FOIL requests. The panel then moved on to the day-to-day problems faced by journalists to obtain information.
As I’ve said numerous times on this blog, our problems regarding open government are your problems. The state’s transparency laws are available to all citizens, not just journalists. And if professional journalists, who deal with this sort of thing every day, are having problems accessing information from the government, then the task is at least equally as challenging for other citizens.
This forum by NYSBA is worth checking out, not just by journalists but by college communications/journalism professors, students and citizens.
Click here for a link to a video of the forum. If you’re interested in this subject, it’s well worth your time.
It’s your right to know what your government is doing. Take time to learn those rights and how you can exercise them.
And as always, if you have an issue with your local government or a question about government access, you can either post a comment here or email me, Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney, at [email protected] I’d be happy to help.