For Immediate Release – August 15, 2019
Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director
National Freedom of Information Coalition
The National Freedom of Information Coalition is doubling down on its efforts to help state government transparency groups strengthen laws, improve agency record dissemination practices, and diversify the open-government community.
The national nonpartisan nonprofit organization’s board has adopted “2020 Vision,” a strategy for improving government transparency at the state and local level, at a time when access to public records and institutions is becoming more challenging for journalists, citizens and businesses.
“It is imperative we identify a clear pathway to more transparent state and local government, which in turn leads to more engaged communities, less corruption and friction, better journalism, and a more informed and trustful society,” said David Cuillier, NFOIC board president and a journalism professor at the University of Arizona. “This strategic roadmap will help us get there.”
Key elements of the plan include:
Strengthening state coalition impact. NFOIC assists more than 39 nonprofit state coalitions for open government, which work to defend citizens’ and journalists’ right to access government information. NFOIC will increase partnerships and funding for coalitions, provide training in technology, produce evidence-based research, and improve coordination among the groups, so they can more effectively help journalists and other stakeholders.
Improving state open government laws. NFOIC will help state coalitions enact better state laws through educating lawmakers and the public, crafting model legislation, and expanding partnerships with national groups and journalism organizations that fight for FOI.
Diversifying the FOI community. NFOIC will integrate new voices into the government transparency world, recognizing that information is critical to empowering disenfranchised groups and new perspectives are essential to healthy civic engagement and democracy.
Bolstering records dissemination practices. NFOIC will help coalitions improve day-to-day administration of public records by state and local agencies by educating government custodians and identifying best practices for government, therefore helping journalists, residents and others grow today’s new information ecosystem.
For 30 years, NFOIC and its partner state coalitions have worked to improve open government laws and enhance transparency practices at the state and local levels. Last year, the organization relocated from Missouri to the University of Florida, partnering with the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, and added a full-time staff member to assist the state coalitions.
“We are now poised to expand our work in building relationships with journalists, attorneys, students, civic engagement organizations and government representatives,” said Daniel Bevarly, NFOIC executive director. “Engaging these partners while introducing a broader audience to the FOI community helps ensure diversity and inclusiveness – as a democracy should be.”