First Amendment Center at Newseum to host 15th Annual National Freedom of Information Day, March 15

WASHINGTON — The 15th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference will be held Friday, March 15, at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together groups from all areas concerned with freedom of information and open records including FOI advocates, government officials, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators.

The conference will feature a keynote discussion with noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, subject of a new book by author and law professor Ronald L.K. Collins. There also will be a discussion of a soon-to-be-released video documentary, “Whistleblowers.”

During the conference, the American Library Association will announce its annual James Madison Award recipient, an award presented to individuals or groups that have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know. In 2012, the award was presented to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., for her support of open government initiatives.

Held each year in part to commemorate the March 16th birth date of James Madison, the conference is conducted in partnership with the American Library Association,, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The event also is part of the annual Sunshine Week initiative sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

In morning sessions, will present its 8th annual Sunshine Week examination of the state of openness in the federal government, focusing this year on outlook for the president’s second term.

According to Patrice McDermott, executive director of the coalition, “President Obama is surely seeking a legacy as the transparency president. His first-term record on openness is neither as successful as we hoped, nor the failure some portray it as. Our aim is in these discussions is to identify second-term steps to overcome obstacles to greater progress on open and accountable government.”

The 2013 conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. There is no charge to attend, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance to guarantee seating. To register, e-mail or telephone Ashlie Hampton of the First Amendment Center at or 202/292-6288. When registering, please provide your name, title, affiliation and contact information for agenda updates and other news. A paid luncheon meal option will be offered at the time of registration.

Please see the complete press release at The Freedom Forum’s website.