When a court last month ordered all documents in the case to be sealed, a reporter from the Union Leader objected to the order and filed a motion to unseal these documents. NEFAC supported the motion in an April 10 legal memorandum submitted to the court. The coalition is now requesting from the court an opportunity to present an oral argument in support of unsealing the documents. [...]
Vermont House Bill 910 would add definitions to the state's open meetings law that better explain which activities do not constitute an official meeting under the statute. HB 910 would also update certain time provisions under the open meetings law and require the state to maintain a public records cataloguing system. [...]
In Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, a group of Asian-American applicants to the university is accusing the school of bias. NEFAC is not taking a position on the merits of the case but is instead objecting to Harvard's request that all its filings be kept secret. "The presumption in favor of access to judicial records sets a high bar before any part of a summary judgment filing may be sealed," NEFAC argued. [...]
Regardless of the gap between the romanticized ideal of the media and reality, a robust, independent and decentralized press is foundational to any democracy. And many have lamented a rapid "consolidation" of the media in recent decades.
One of the biggest players is now the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than 190 broadcast stations, including 22 NBC affiliates and others of ABC, CBS and Fox, spread across many major markets.[...]
The opinion provides important guidance on what constitutes a "deliberation" under the Open Meeting Law, and it vindicates principles of transparency in the era of electronic communication. In Boelter v. Board of Selectmen of Wayland, the Wayland Board of Selectmen agreed that each member would prepare an evaluation of the town administrator and send it to the chair, who then would create a "composite" evaluation for discussion at an open meeting. [...]
NEFAC recently presented to high school students at Capital Preparatory Harbor School in Bridgeport, Conn., as part of the coalition's Featured Speaker Program. The program launched in January and is an educational initiative bringing First Amendment and journalism experts to the region's college campuses and high school classrooms.This spring alone, NEFAC has been or will be at the University of New Hampshire; Millicent Library in Fairhaven (Mass.); and high schools in Providence and Narragansett (R.I.). NEFAC will be presenting at the New England Scholastic Press Association for high school journalists in May. In June, the coalition will be at the New England High School Journalism Collaborative workshops. Learn more about our Featured Speaker Program here.
NEFAC's Jennifer Peter, managing editor of The Boston Globe, discusses contemporary First Amendment issues with Susan Benesch, director of the Dangerous Speech Project, and Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. Award-winning journalist and senior correspondent for WBUR's Bostonomix Bruce Gellerman moderates.[...]
NEFAC joined 40 media organizations and press advocates in signing an amicus curiae brief drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and filed April 19 in Courthouse News Service v. Brown. "Not only is contemporaneous access to civil complaints constitutionally required, but it also greatly benefits the public," argued NEFAC in the Courthouse brief."The press and the public have a right to learn about the matters consuming judicial resources and occupying space on the dockets of courts." [...]
In an effort to shield information from the public, it is not uncommon for government officials in Massachusetts to play word games when responding to public records requests. Here's a prime example. [...]