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Survey of records access in Virginia

This story reports on the results of a survey done by newspaper employees who were “dispatched to every city and county in the state [Virginia] in September to see how the 134 local governments responded to requests for public information that is supposed to be available under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.”

Access to public data hard to come by, by Harry Minium / The Virginian-Pilot Daily Press Hampton Roads, Virginia (December 31, 2006)

The results were hardly encouraging for citizens who want to see how their government works, advocates for open government said.

A little less than half the media representatives saw the requested records that, under state law, cities and counties have to provide.

About one in every four times, the person seeking the information was denied access to what’s supposed to be public information.

“Unfortunately, some localities just have a predisposition to keep things secret,” said Forrest “Frosty” Landon, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.

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