Press Coverage

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: 20142013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

U.S. Shouldn’t Keep Families of Hostages in the Dark | The Boston Globe 3.3.15

Diane Foley, James Foley’s mother, made plain the additional pain families suffer at the hands of government intelligence and law enforcement officials. Last month, in a room full of journalists, she spoke before the New England First Amendment Coalition as she and her husband, John, accepted the 2015 Freedom of Information award on behalf of their late son.

Call for Court Transparency | Providence Journal 2.28.15

Courts often install security cameras to monitor what the public is doing. But when it comes to pointing cameras at judges so that the public can monitor what they are doing, courts often object. So it was absolutely refreshing to hear from Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge in Massachusetts who teaches at Harvard Law and who just received the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award from the New England First Amendment Coalition.

Passion Lies Behind Fight for Access for Winners of First Amendment Awards | NENPA 2.25.15

Freedom of information isn’t always easy to achieve, but this year’s New England First Amendment Coalition award recipients embody how passionate, well-known public figures and journalists have fought — and still fight — to deliver accurate and easily digestible information in the news media.

Veteran Correspondents Urge Journalists to Look Beyond Conflict | Huffington Post 2.24.15

The last few weeks have brought great momentum to this effort which is spearheaded by those of us who care about reporting on the ground, and who genuinely want to see the next generation of correspondents have opportunities to do work that matters in underreported corners of the world, and to do it safely. … The 2015 Freedom of Information Award was awarded by the New England First Amendment Coalition to Jim Foley who, as the organization stated, “relentlessly pursued the truth abroad.”

Media Must Remain Vigilant, Says Family of Slain U.S. Hostage | Providence Journal 2.23.15

I never knew James W. Foley, but I wish had. The New York Times reported those details — revealing both his ordeal and his character — in an Oct. 25 story headlined “The Horror Before the Beheadings.” And in Boston on Friday, I had the opportunity to talk with his parents, Diane and John Foley, after they accepted the Freedom of Information Award on their son’s behalf from the New England First Amendment Coalition.

Judge, Journalist Killed By Islamic State, Activist Honored | Providence Journal 2.21.15

Three champions for the public’s right to know were honored Friday by the New England First Amendment Coalition. Their focuses might have been different — public access to the courts, open government, and the dogged pursuit of the crucial, but little told stories — but their commitment was the same. Each sought to expose the truth.

West Bridgewater Officials Keeping Police Settlement Payout Secret | The Enterprise 2.13.15

“They’re saying, even they were involved in (the discussion), that they weren’t privy to the actual settlement itself? That’s hard to believe,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “It’s hard to believe that with this being the town’s insurance policy, they’re not privy to a settlement made under that policy,” Silverman said.

R.I. State Police Revise Policy for Public Records | Providence Journal 2.11.15

Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, called the policy an “improvement,” but said in an email that he was concerned that the state police would now record the descriptions of people asking for records. … “Under this policy, identification could occur based on appearance alone and individuals may be deterred from making requests,” Silverman said. “If a requester’s description is always recorded, then it also becomes possible to profile that individual, track him or her and the type of information requested, as well as the frequency of requests. This could provide state police an incentive to withhold certain information or, worse, discourage the requests from being made in the first place.”

R.I. State Police ID Checks at Barracks Thwart Open-Records Law | Providence Journal 2.2.15

“Requiring public record requestors to identify themselves violates the law,” said Justin Silverman, the executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “State agencies should not be able to unilaterally decide which parts of the law they are going to follow. They are obligated to follow APRA and that means disclosing requested information without requiring identification first.”

Freedom for ‘Opinions that We Loathe’ | Providence Journal 1.25.15

On Jan. 14, French authorities charged a notorious comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, with “glorifying terrorism” for a Facebook post that, to some, appeared to show support for the gunman who killed four people in a kosher market. The arrest came days after millions marched in support of Charlie Hebdo’s right to mock. “That’s difficult to reconcile,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “You have to be consistent as to the protections you provide.”

Eric Holder’s Crackdown on Leaks Chills Free Speech | The Boston Globe 1.21.15

Justin Silverman, a lawyer who is executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, noted in a recent e-mail interview that while the administration’s policy change is potentially beneficial, “we shouldn’t forget, though, the series of events that led to those revisions, the lack of transparency that still exists within the federal government, and the ongoing challenges this administration poses to journalists and the free flow of information.”

An Indelible Life: How Technology Keeps Dredging Up Our Past | Foster’s Daily Democrat 1.18.15

According to Justin Silverman, an attorney based in Westborough, Mass., and executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, once information is in the public domain it is virtually impossible to remove. Reputable publications and websites won’t remove information just because a reader requested it, he said. News about an eventual acquittal or dropped charges may also be added to the record, but doesn’t guarantee those viewing it won’t still see the original charge as being a black mark.

Kirby Delauter Was Here; #JeSuisCharlie | Providence Journal 1.11.15

“This is not only an attack on a particular individual or publication, it’s a strike against freedom of speech everywhere,” New England First Amendment Coalition executive director Justin Silverman said. In the face of such attacks, we must resist the “temptation to clam up and self-censor,” he said. “The best response is to continue to speak freely, to report aggressively, to use satire and not be deterred.”

Maine Judge’s Gag Order Meets With Media Backlash | Maine Public Broadcasting Network 1.6.15

Justin Silverman of the New England First Amendment Coalition, says it’s critical that journalism organizations shine a light on these kinds of stories. “I think it’s always important for all media outlets to publicize cases like this, and not only call out the judges that make these orders, but also inform readers of the threats that exist to their access to information,” Silverman says.

Maine Judge Draws Flak From 1st Amendment Advocates After Issuing Gag Order | Bangor Daily News 1.6.15

“This order is a major strike to the First Amendment and the public’s right to know about its court system and those accused of crimes,” Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition in Westborough, Massachusetts, said Tuesday in an email. “It is pre-publication censorship and almost certainly an unconstitutional prior restraint. It is disappointing that a judge of this stature would disregard such fundamental First Amendment protections.”