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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Sunshine Week Round-Up

The National Security Archive has a roundup of stories from this year’s Sunshine Week:

  • Sunshine Week Round-Up, by Lauren Harper, Unredacted The National Security Archive blog (March 15, 2012).

    Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of the importance of open government and freedom of information, is in full swing. Every year, the news media, nonprofits, libraries, schools, and the government debate the public’s right to know.

OMB Watch Report on Transparency and Accountability Websites

On March 19, OMB Watch released a new report that evaluates state and federal websites designed to ensure the accountability of public officials. The report, Upholding the Public’s Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, examines state efforts to release public officials’ integrity information online. Such transparency is crucial to guard against self-dealing and patronage. While states and the federal government have made progress in this area, more work lies ahead.

This report considers four key areas of transparency in the U.S. state and federal governments: campaign finance, lobbying, procurement, and public officials’ assets. The report describes the key features needed for effective online disclosure in these areas and highlights leading practices in the states.

Conference: Limiting Knowledge in a Democracy

This promises to be a very interesting conference! If you are going and will be blogging or tweeting, please let us know. (admin at freegovinfo.info)

Join award winning journalists, distinguished scholars, and policy makers to examine how the U.S. government and other political and cultural institutions distort or otherwise affect the flow of information. What limits on access to knowledge safeguard our democracy and what limits erode it?

Keynote: Seymour Hersh

Featured Speakers:
Steven Aftergood
David D. Aufhauser
Ronald Bayer
Christopher Capozzola
Julie E. Cohen
Daniel Ellsberg
Peter L. Galison
Rebecca Goldstein
Glenn Greenwald
Dale Jamieson
Philip Kitcher
Nicholas Lemann
Eric Lichtblau
Michael Oppenheimer
Daniel Sarewitz
Jonathan Zittrain

Over three days, the conference will investigate how our government and other political and cultural institutions organize, fund, restrict, facilitate, or otherwise affect the flow of knowledge, and examine how limits may support or undermine democracy. Speakers will examine the government and technological structures and mechanisms that limit transparency, the influence of private interests and government over media and the propagation of misinformation, and the host of other powerful forces surrounding policy-making that curtail our knowledge and threaten our privacy.

We will also look at other institutions that significantly affect what we can know, what we ought to know and what we should try to know, including the research community itself, as well as the implicit limits located within our culture that strongly influence what we seek to know and what we are content not to know.

And, we will discuss the role of whistleblowers and investigative journalism to uphold public accountability.

These issues will be addressed from the perspectives of government policy, political science, public health, history, science, economics, media, law, journalism, and philosophy.

C-SPAN complains about closed health care meetings

C-SPAN complains about private health talks, by Foon Rhee, Boston Globe (January 5, 2010).

Democrats’ apparent decision to come up with a final health care bill not only behind closed doors but within a very select group of negotiators is drawing criticism not only from expected quarters, but from the media.

Free and open internet

Here’s a simple, straightforward and thoughtful piece about what an open and neutral internet architecture means and why it’s important.

–that is all.



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