Sunshine Week 2017

NEFAC joined open government advocates throughout the country to celebrate the 12th annual Sunshine Week, a national campaign to promote dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. NEFAC sponsored events and published daily blog posts to address transparency issues in each New England state.

“Confronted by a presidential administration that regularly attacks the news media and labels the Fourth Estate an ‘enemy of the American people,’ Sunshine Week has special significance this year,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “The truth is often obtained through public documents and open meetings. As Justice Brandeis famously said, sunlight is the best of disinfectants.”

Learn more about Sunshine Week 2017 here.

Journalism and ‘Fake News’ | With a new presidential administration, journalists are finding their profession under attack. NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman discusses the state of journalism with Steve Klamkin and the WPRO Saturday Morning News. Listen to the interview here.

The Next Four Years and the Press | A panel of journalism and media law experts discuss the challenges facing the press under the Trump Administration. The panel includes Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post, recipient of the New England First Amendment Coalition’s 2017 Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award and Robert Bertsche, a media attorney at Prince Lobel Tye LLP and a member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors. More info here.

2017 New England First Amendment Awards |  As part of its annual luncheon, NEFAC honored Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post with its Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award. The Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, received the coalition’s Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award. Donna Green received the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award. Learn more about the program, watch a complete recording of the event and view photos of attendees here.

Legal and Ethical Issues Facing New England Journalists, Newsrooms | NEFAC presented a panel discussion on the latest legal and ethical issues within local newsrooms, including a summary of First Amendment and privacy law. Topics also included photography ethics, editorial considerations, drone use and press access to public school events. The video is available to view for free with a $10 suggested donation. Video and summary here.

Body Camera Footage, Vermont Public Records | NEFAC recently called on law enforcement in Vermont to release all video capturing the shooting of an unarmed man in Winooski, citing the public interest in police transparency. Coalition representatives spoke to local and regional news outlets about Vermont’s public records law and how releasing video of police shootings can help build trust between law enforcement officers and their communities.


Police Body Cameras and FOI Legislation | As police departments around the country increasingly use body cameras, many questions arise about access to these video records under FOI laws and how journalists can use the videos ethically. NEFAC conducted a panel discussion of issues related to the use of body cameras at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Conn. Jim Smith, a coalition board member, moderated the panel. Video and recap here.


About Sunshine Week |  NEFAC joins open-government advocates across the country every March to celebrate Sunshine Week. This national campaign is an initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. [More]


About Our 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]


About Our New England First Amendment Awards Luncheon | During our annual luncheon, we present the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award and the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award. [More]

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About 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]