About the New England First Amendment Coalition

The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.

2015 New England First Amendment Awards
Complete Coverage

Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award
Judge Nancy Gertner (retired) [33:56 – 59:24]
Freedom of Information Award
James Foley (posthumously, accepted by
John and Diane Foley) [18:01 – 32:48]
Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award
Harriet Cady [05:15 – 14:20]




Sunshine Week 2015 |  NEFAC joined open-government advocates across the country to celebrate the 10th annual Sunshine Week. This national campaign is an initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. [More]


New England First Amendment Institute |  Our annual institute provides editors and reporters with the support and training necessary to become accomplished investigative journalists, well versed in the access laws that govern today’s difficult reporting landscape. [More]


The New England First Amendment Awards Luncheon |  NEFAC honors individuals who have promoted and defended the First Amendment throughout New England. During its annual luncheon, the coalition presents the Stephen Hamblett Award, the FOI Award and the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award. [More]


The NEFAC Report |  Stay informed of all First Amendment and FOI news in New England with our monthly dispatch. This newsletter features original reporting by journalists, attorneys and right-to-know advocates who are on the frontline of freedom of information and First Amendment battles. [More]

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What We Do

NEFAC conducts an annual New England First Amendment Institute each fall, an intensive training course on freedom of information laws and investigative techniques. It's taught by stellar faculty, including several Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. NEFAC files and signs onto amicus briefs, helping FOI advocates emphasize important points of jurisprudence in media law cases. We advocate for improved access laws, providing expert testimony on important legislative reform. NEFAC mentors law school students, helping them learn how to defend journalists and counsel them during their legal battles. We publish the NEFAC Report, a free monthly newsletter with original reporting from journalists and publishers within New England.