Megan Rhyne: The press does heavy lifting on FOIA

From Richmond Times Dispatch: In 1996, when the Virginia Coalition for Open Government formed, its founders wanted to make at least one point abundantly clear: The public’s right to know is the public’s right to know. The Freedom of Information Act was not — and is not — a media law.

Statistics and anecdotal evidence at the local, state and federal level bear this out. The number of requests for records made by members of the news media pale in comparison with those made by citizens, lawyers, businesses, researchers and academics.

The news media have no more rights under Virginia’s FOIA than any given citizen in the commonwealth. The government must make the same responses within the same time frame whether it is the Richmond Times-Dispatch or Megan Rhyne making the request.

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Megan Rhyne is the executive director of the Virgnia Coalition for Open Government. The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is a member of NFOIC. –eds