August 19, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director
The Vigilance Committee, Inc. a nonprofit organization in the U.S. Territory of Guam, is the newest member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC). NFOIC is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit made of open government and freedom of information organizations. Its members represent 39 U.S. states, commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia that promote legislative and policy reforms and press freedom to ensure open, transparent and accessible state and local governments and public institutions.
Incorporated in 2019, the Vigilance Committee is dedicated to requiring compliance with Guam’s Open Government Law and the Sunshine Reform Act and promotes ways to improve the dissemination and disclosure of information to the public, and strengthening the laws of disclosure on all fronts.
Lee P. Webber is president of the Vigilance Committee. A 2000 recipient of the Sunshine Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Lee is a former president and publisher of media organizations on Guam and Hawaii. Before retiring after 40-years with Gannett Company where he served for five years as Director of Operations for USA TODAY International for all of Asia, Lee was President and Publisher of The Honolulu Advertiser and President of Gannett Pacific Corporation.
“Our Vigilance Committee members are excited to have found national allies in our advocacy for more openness and transparency in our local government,” said Lee. "My entire career has been spent advocating for this very purpose. As president of Guam’s Vigilance Committee and the newest member of NFOIC, I will continue this advocacy to ensure that Guam’s Open Government Laws are enforced. This is especially important during these times when our local government has increased its usage of internal electronic communications and when our civil liberties have been curtailed and our normal systems of checks and balances breached," he added.
“The challenges faced by the Vigilance Committee are similar to those faced by other state and commonwealth coalition members to be informed, active voices of their press and public to ensure open government in their jurisdiction,” said NFOIC executive director Daniel Bevarly.
Emphasizing the importance and benefit to having members that represent the diversity of state and local governance in the United States, Bevarly said, “whether it’s the Vigilance Committee, Puerto Rico’s Espacios Abiertos, Tennessee’s Coalition for Open Government, or Colorado's Freedom of Information Coalition, our members make a greater impact learning from each other, sharing information and collaborating through the network.”