NEFAC receives considerable press coverage each year for its consistent advocacy of freedom of information and First Amendment concerns. Below are links to stories written about us during the current year. Coverage from previous years can be seen here: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
Attorney General Weighs in on Public Records Case | VTDigger 5.19.17
“We welcome the attorney general’s position that private email and text messaging accounts can be searched under the Public Records Act,” said attorney Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. Silverman said it is still concerning that the attorney general is questioning how such searches can occur, the answer to which could have serious consequences for the public’s right to know. . . . Silverman said that reasoning places a burden on the party requesting records that isn’t contemplated by the Public Records Act, and which could be used to deny access to records that would be public were they not located on private accounts. “If a request needs to meet a certain standard before private accounts can be searched, the requester certainly shouldn’t be required to put the cart before the horse and first provide proof the records exist,” he said.
Judge Denies Release of 38 Studios Secret Grand Jury Records | WJAR-Providence 5.19.17
Access RI, the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and the New England First Amendment Coalition wanted the details related to the probe released saying there is “extraordinarily strong public interest” in the grand jury process. And now they are disappointed, said Justin Silverman with the New England First Amendment Coalition. “The decision is incredibly disappointing and a blow to the public’s right to know in Rhode Island.” Silverman said. “We had hoped for more transparency about 38 Studios but instead we’re just facing more secrecy, more of the same.”
VTDigger is filing the amicus brief in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Vermont. Other news outlets and transparency groups have signed on, including the New England First Amendment Coalition, the Caledonian Record, Seven Days and the Vermont Press Association.
Vermont Ends Delay on Public Release of Lawsuit Documents | VTDigger 4.25.17
The New England First Amendment Coalition celebrated the state’s order in a news release Tuesday. “This is a win for open government. Vermonters have a right to know about lawsuits filed in their courts and to have timely access to those documents,” said the group’s executive director, Justin Silver, in a statement.
NEFAC Applauds Vermont Decision to Make Lawsuit Filings Immediately Available | Caledonian Record 4.25.17
“The old provision of secret files, even when there had been a hearing, is just one of several outdated policies,” said Michael Donoghue, NEFAC’s vice president and a former Burlington Free Press staff writer. “Our coalition urged the Vermont Attorney General’s Office not to waste tax dollars trying to defend this policy when Vermont was the only state doing it this way.”
In this case, Snapchat, Inc., the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the New England First Amendment Coalition, and the Keene Sentinel all filed amicus briefs in support of the ACLU-NH’s position that this ban is unconstitutional.
Celebrating Your Right to Know at Nashua Gathering | InDepthNH 3.17.17
The right-to-know evening at the Hunt Memorial Building was co-sponsored by The Telegraph of Nashua, InDepthNH.org and the New England First Amendment Coalition.
Local Lawyer Leads New England First Amendment Coalition | Community Advocate 3.13.17
Silverman joined the NEFAC board in 2010, and became its executive director in 2014. “NEFAC is an advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know. We seek to educate everyone — journalists and non-journalists alike — about their rights under the First Amendment. Much of our work is for the benefit of journalists because they are often the ones using freedom of information laws to obtain records and educate communities. “But we provide resources to everyone,” he added. “We’re most concerned about threats to the press, free speech and the public’s right to know.”
Attacks on the Media Only Making Them Stronger | Roger Williams University 3.5.17
Jon Keller, political analyst for WBZ-TV, welcomed people to the New England First Amendment Coalition awards ceremony on Feb. 24 in Boston, saying: “Ladies, gentlemen, fellow enemies of the people — glad you could make it out today.” Far from intimidating journalists with his attacks from the bully pulpit, President Donald J. Trump has lit a fire in the belly of the news industry. And ironically, his attempts to weaken the nation’s media could end up making them stronger.
Exercising First Amendment Rights is a Team Sport | Roger Williams University 3.1.17
At a New England First Amendment Coalition event on Feb. 24, Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan began her keynote address by thanking the many journalism students in attendance, including eight students from Roger Williams University. “I admire the fact that you are making the foray into our somewhat treacherous waters at this particular time,” Sullivan said. “We need you more than ever.”
Recipients Call for Relentless Pursuit, Defense of the Truth | NENPA 2.26.17
With new threats to the First Amendment, journalism’s role is more important than ever, Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for The Washington Post, told those attending the seventh annual New England First Amendment Coalition awards luncheon Friday, Feb. 24, in Boston.
A Change of Heart on White House Leaks | The Westerly Sun 2.27.17
NEFAC’s Justin Silverman said, “Once the public has lost faith in the Fourth Estate, there is nothing to separate fact from fiction, truth from propaganda. Yes, we need to demand high standards and integrity from our press corps. But at the same time, we need to discard hollow accusations of ‘fake news’ and petty grievances with coverage. There’s too much at stake to consider every critical news story as the work of dishonest politically driven reporters.”
Rants and Raves (video) | Beat the Press 2.24.17
Northeastern University professor Dan Kennedy discusses 2017 New England First Amendment Awards honoree Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post.
TGIF: 21 Things To Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media | RI Public Radio 2.24.17
Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, said, ‘President Trump’s continued attacks on the media undermine the value of journalism in our country. A reporter’s job isn’t to pat the president on the back, but to instead pursue the truth, regardless of how it reflects on an administration. As the saying goes, democracy dies in darkness. Trump seems intent on discrediting the very people we rely on to shine light in those dark corners of government.’
Sun Journal receives First Amendment Award | Sun Journal 2.25.17
The Sun Journal was awarded the Michael Donoghue First Amendment Award by the New England First Amendment Coalition on Friday. The award was given to the Lewiston newspaper during the annual New England Newspaper and Press Association convention. The freedom of information award is given each year to a New England journalist or team of journalists for a body of work that protects or advances the public’s right to access information possessed by federal and state governments.