Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Funds available to fight for freedom of information; rural newspapers encouraged to apply for help

Rural newspapers that lack the funds to fight freedom-of-information battles now have a more robust source of financial help. The Society of Professional Journalists and the National Freedom of Information Coalition have joined forces to provide court fees and help with attorney fees to litigants who sue for access to government information. Rural media are encouraged to take advantage of this great opportunity in the fight for open government. The partnership, which was approved last week during Sunshine Week, will:
  • Have staff and volunteers from both organizations solicit applications and monitor public record battles at the state and federal levels for worthy cases.
  • Give priority to cases that a) have a strong legal basis, b) have the ability to establish good case law, and c) will help citizens and journalists, regardless of the profession or standing of the plaintiff.
  • Write or join amicus curiae briefs and/or intervene in cases where appropriate.
  • Coordinate publicity and advocacy.
  • Solicit other partners, when merited, such as state coalitions and other national access organizations.

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