Florida public records: Openness aids all

Editorial from TheLedger.com:

Government is nothing if not records. In Florida, it starts with the state constitution.

Famously, in Florida, records are assumed to be open — although there are exceptions.


One of the difficulties of protecting public records from exemptions that lock them away is legislators' assumptions that efforts to keep records open primarily benefit news organizations, Barbara Petersen told the Editorial Board on Wednesday. Petersen is president of the First Amendment Foundation, Tallahassee, which is recognized as the nongovernmental expert and champion of open government in Florida.

“When I'm up talking to legislators or when I'm talking to groups of people, everybody always says, ‘Well, this is a media issue,' ” Petersen said. “It's very hard to dissuade them of that notion, despite statistics that show, for example, that corporations and small businesses make more public records requests than do citizens and the media combined.”

For more of this article and for the full interview with Barbara Petersen, visit TheLedger.com.

First Amendment Foundation is a member of NFOIC.–eds.