Coalition Sponsors Events in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Celebrate Transparency
The goal of Sunshine Week — March 15-21 this year with related events occurring throughout the month — is to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Please join us at the following events:
The New England First Amendment Coalition provided two sessions at the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association winter convention earlier this month.
NEFAC’s convention sessions are the latest presentations and lectures provided by the coalition throughout the region. To request a speaker for your event please contact NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org. [...]
FEATURED SPEAKER PROGRAM
NEFAC Continues Community Conversations, Presentations Throughout New England
NEFAC offers discussions on journalism and the First Amendment as part of its Featured Speaker Program, launched in January 2018 to help increase First Amendment education in high schools, college classrooms and community centers. Since the program’s creation, NEFAC has provided more than 75 presentations throughout the region.
It is far more likely that the governor's office hopes to keep the records from the prying eyes of the media. The Baker administration and the Boston Globe have been wrangling over access to millions of copies birth and marriage certificates the governor clearly does not want to provide.
"Sealing off these records for such a long period of time doesn't seem to be in the public's interest," said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. "Access to these records is important, and the state shouldn't be restricting it." It's not just important to journalists — the records are vital to the work of genealogists and those looking to trace their family history. [...]
Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit organization that defends and promotes public access to government, was also scratching his head as to why this proposal surfaced. “It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said. Silverman said the Baker administration’s argument that the measure is needed to bring Massachusetts in line with other states’ practices didn’t hold up. “There should be some reason — some evidence,” he said. Baker’s proposal “shows unwarranted concern for individual records and a complete dismissal for public interest that exists,” said Silverman. For journalists and others keeping an eye on government, he said, being able to see those documents is important to get a better understanding of what’s going on in our communities, and why. [...]