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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


Learn about our annual First Amendment Institute and how you can become one of 25 journalism fellows

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

Visit to learn more about FOI and public records access

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.
Submissions can be emailed to: [email protected]
Applications Due Oct. 3 for Fellowships 
to New England First Amendment Institute

Twenty-five of the region's most promising journalists will attend the New England First Amendment Institute in November to learn the latest in investigative reporting techniques and freedom of information law. Those interested in attending the institute must submit their application by October 3. The fourth annual institute, hosted by the New England First Amendment Coalition, will be from Nov. 16 to 18 in Dedham, Mass. It will feature many of the country's elite editors, investigative reporters and media attorneys. [More] 

Mass. Domestic Violence Law Criticized as Inconsistent, Burdensome to Small Media 

The new law will prove especially challenging for weekly newspapers or web-only news organizations, which simply don't have the staff to send a reporter to a courthouse regularly. Without that court presence, there really isn't a way of knowing how many domestic violence arrests are being made by local police[More]

NEFAC Calls for DOJ Investigation Into Mistreatment of Journalists in Ferguson

"While the events in Ferguson may seem far removed from New England, they were covered by reporters from all regions and reflect the racial tensions that still exist throughout this country," said Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director. "It is important to recognize when First Amendment protections are ignored and to work together to make sure journalists continue to have the freedom to report stories of national interest." [More] 

Access Limited: An Audit of Compliance with Rhode Island Public Records Law

An audit of the 2012 amendments to Rhode Island's Access to Public Records Act (APRA) shows that a number of state agencies and municipal departments, in particular the police, are apparently violating those changes to the law. In addition, enforcement of parts of the law appears to be weak or nonexistent. [More] 
Silverman Begins as Executive Director; Cavanagh to Remain in Advisory Role

Justin Silverman, an attorney based in Westborough, Mass., and a former board member of the New England First Amendment Coalition, is NEFAC's new executive director. Silverman assumed the role Sept. 1 and replaces Rosanna Cavanagh, who spent four years in the position before resigning to focus on her growing family. Cavanagh will continue to work with NEFAC in an advisory role. [More] 

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