Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn View our videos on YouTube


FIRST AMENDMENT
OF U.S. CONSTITUTION 

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.

ABOUT NEFAC 

2016 MAJOR SUPPORTERS
 



Boston Globe logo







LEARN ABOUT OUR ANNUAL NEW ENGLAND FIRST AMENDMENT INSTITUTE








NEFAC'S ANNUAL 
NEW ENGLAND FIRST AMENDMENT AWARDS









SUNSHINE WEEK 2016










FILE FREE FOI REQUEST



Voters Can Now Take Ballot Selfies in New Hampshire | Fortune 9.29.16 Both the New England First Amendment Coalition and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press also filed amicus briefs, saying that "the issue of voter intimidation was overblown in this case," according to the Times. "There isn't much evidence, if any at all, that this kind of activity is actually occurring," Justin Silverman, the executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, told the Times.

'Ballot Selfies' Get Federal Court Blessing | CNN 9.29.16 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Keene Sentinel and the New England First Amendment Coalition also filed briefs in opposition to the law.

Appeals Court Overturns Ban on Selfies in Voting Booths | The Wall Street Journal 9.28.16 A coalition that included the social media company Snapchat Inc., the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the New England First Amendment Coalition filed briefs in support of the New Hampshire voters who sued in 2014 to challenge the ban.

Two other organizations, the New England First Amendment Coalition and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, also filed amicus briefs and said that the issue of voter intimidation was overblown in this case. "There isn't much evidence, if any at all, that this kind of activity is actually occurring," Justin Silverman, the executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, told The Times in April.

NEFAC's Mike Donoghue discusses the public interest in disclosing the Winooski shooting video.

Transparency Group Calls For Release Footage (audio) | VPR-Vermont Public Radio 9.21.16 But what happened in the final moments of his life still hasn't been fully explained by police, and the New England First Amendment Coalition is calling on authorities to release body camera footage of the incident so the public gets an objective view of what happened. Mike Donoghue is the vice president of the organization, and he says police regularly release footage during investigations. "When there's a bank robbery, when there's assaults, when there's store burglaries, they're frequently turning over video that's going to be, quote, 'evidence,'" Donoghue says.

Advocacy Groups Pressing for Release of Body Cam Video (audio) | WAMC-Northeast Public Radio 9.21.16 The New England First Amendment Coalition is pushing Vermont law enforcement officials to make the video immediately available to the public. Coalition Executive Director Justin Silverman says the goal is transparency and assurance that law enforcement is working in the public interest. "Particularly in the national climate  that we have now with the additional scrutiny on police shootings we believe that it was of particular importance to have this footage released so the public would have a better understanding of the shooting, what occurred, how the police responded, and be able to determine whether or not law enforcement acted appropriately."

Embrace Transparency on Body Cams | Caledonian Record 9.21.16 Yesterday, meanwhile, the New England First Amendment Coalition called on police to release the footage. "As more officers throughout the region begin using body and dash cams, it's necessary for police departments to set a standard of transparency and trust," said Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director. "In police shooting cases such as this, there is a need for credibility and camera footage provides an important source of information for the public. The recordings in this case should be released as soon as possible so the public better understands how the shooting occurred and how law enforcement reacted."

FBI Should Never Impersonate Journalists | The Providence Journal 9.17.16
New England First Amendment Coalition executive director Justin Silverman said, "Having government officials - particularly those in law enforcement - go around impersonating members of the press very much undermines the ability of reporters to gather the news, gain the trust of sources and build relationships with the communities they cover."

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. Please email submissions to mail@nefirstamendment.org.



 



 NEFAC REPORT | September 2016
New England First Amendment Institute
NEFAC Announces Journalism Fellows, Additional Institute Speakers and Faculty
Data Journalism Veteran, National First Amendment Advocate Join NEFAI 2016 
The New England First Amendment Coalition provides a three-day institute - held this year from Oct. 16-18 in Dedham, Mass. - at no cost to those who attend. The Marshall Project's Bill Keller, former executive editor at The New York Times, will provide the keynote address. Also speaking at the institute is Jodi Upton, a former data journalist at USA Today who is now serving as Syracuse University's Knight Chair in Data and Explanatory Journalism, and Gene Policinski, a nationally known First Amendment advocate and chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C. [More]

Coalition Selects Incoming Class of New England Journalism Fellows
The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce its incoming class of fellows for the 2016 New England First Amendment Institute. "We received many qualified applicants this year for a limited number of seats," said Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director. "The selection process is always very difficult, but I'm excited to announce this incoming class and eager to begin this year's program." [More]

NEFAC News
First Circuit Overturns 'Ballot Selfie' Ban; NEFAC Filed Amicus Arguing Against Law

First Circuit Opinion
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit overturned a New Hampshire law banning "ballot selfies," saying the law unconstitutionally restricts the First Amendment rights of all voters. The New England First Amendment Coalition in April filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that the law is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech and could impede the public's ability to monitor its government. The case, Rideout v. Gardner, involves three New Hampshire voters who posted images of their ballots on social media sites and were threatened with prosecution under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 659:35. The statute was amended in 2014 to prohibit "taking a digital image or photograph of [one's] marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media." [More] [Additional Coverage]
NEFAC Urges Law Enforcement to Release Body Camera Footage of Winooski Shooting

The New England First Amendment Coalition recently urged the Franklin County (Vt.) Sheriff's Department, the Winooski Police Department and Vermont State Police to make public as quickly as possible any body camera footage in their possession related to a recent fatal shooting of an unarmed burglary suspect in Winooski. Several media organizations requested police camera footage of the incident through Vermont's public records law. Police denied the request saying the footage is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and exempt from disclosure. [More] [Additional Coverage] [NEFAC Commentary]
NEFAC Bolsters Board of Directors with Globe Editor, Vt. Publisher, UConn Prof.
Joining NEFAC's board of directors are (pictured below, left to right) Jennifer Peter, senior deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe; Todd Smith, publisher of the Caledonian-Record; and Mike Stanton, an investigative journalist and journalism professor at the University of Connecticut. [More]

 
Other FOI and First Amendment News
       Regional / National

             Presidential Campaign, First Amendment
__________________________________________________
       Connecticut

             Protest, Right to Record
__________________________________________________
       Maine

            Free Speech, Public Art
__________________________________________________
       Massachusetts
       New Hampshire

             ballotBallot Selfies, Rideout v. Gardner
__________________________________________________
       Rhode Island
       Vermont

             vtWinooski Shooting, Body Cam Footage
             Public Records, EB-5 Center
__________________________________________________