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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
First Amendment 
of U.S. Constitution


Complete Coverage of our Annual Awards Luncheon, featuring James Risen of The New York Times

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Read about our annual awards for journalists, private citizens and First Amendment advocates

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We welcome contributions to The NEFAC Report from journalists, lawyers, academics or other advocates of government transparency. If you have something to add to the conversation, please let us know. Your stories, experiences and commentaries have broad appeal and value.
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NEFAC Asks Justice Department to Withdraw the Subpoena of James Risen, Hamblett Award Honoree


New England First Amendment Coalition (NEFAC) sent a petition today to the United States Justice Department requesting that it withdraw its subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify in the trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling as to his confidential source for information published in Risen's 2006 book State of War.  The petition reminds Attorney General Eric Holder that press freedom "has been extremely important to our society from colonial times to the present; 'The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments,'" wrote George Mason.  "'The truth is hard to take sometimes.  It isn't always convenient.  It can be disappointing.  It can be ugly.  But knowing--having information about ourselves and the world we live in-- is part of our national identity.  Our democracy relies on an informed citizenry.  Thoughtful, fair, balanced comprehensive reporting in print and in photos or video may be the best way to know what's going on -- the way to best inform ourselves.  Information is what keeps us free from tyranny,'" wrote Nancy Conway in Salt Lake City Tribune.  [More]

Should Citizens Have Access to

Public Relations Work?

 A high-powered public relations company and the biggest law firm in Connecticut have teamed up to keep residents of Darien, Conn., in the dark about aspects of an ongoing crisis in the public school district's special education program. While the district has taken tremendous and costly steps toward rebuilding its special education program, the work of Duby McDowell Communications to help the schools manage its public image is being withheld from the people who are paying for this service. [More]

Report on Jared Remy Case is 'Information   Rightfully Belonging to the People'

In 2002, Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said, "When a government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people." The judge's words, although used to describe secret deportation hearings in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, are applicable to any dispute between government and its people over the right to records. [More]

Changes May Be Coming for
Vermont's Public Records Act

Vermont's annual Public Records Act legislative review, now in its third year, may yield significant updates for all levels of government in 2014 - particularly in relation to open meetings. Depending on how they shape up through the legislative process, proposed amendments could strengthen access to public policymaking. [More]

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