NFOIC – MLRC Open Government Survey III is underway

Knowledgeable segments of NFOIC’s membership, along with a select group of members of the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), are being asked to participate in OpenGov Survey 2013, the third in a series of research projects by the two organizations regarding open government trends, issues and legal actions.

MLRC and NFOIC collaborated on similar surveys in 2009 and in 2011.

The 2009 survey (PDF) showed declining levels of FOI advocacy by media organizations and provided part of the impetus for creation of the Knight FOI Fund, the half-million dollar perpetual legal fund begun in 2010 by NFOIC and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help defray upfront costs in meritorious open government lawsuits.

The 2011 survey showed continued retrenchment by media organizations with regard to their willingness to bring freedom of information lawsuits, even as citizen interest in government transparency was growing.

In addition to following up on topics covered in those earlier surveys, the 2013 Open Government Survey is also asking respondents about the impact of recent legislative reforms in their states and the use of technology to make public information proactively available and easy to access. MLRC Executive Director Sandra Baron and NFOIC Executive Director Kenneth Bunting said the survey is designed to provide a current state-by-state assessment regarding on-the-ground realities and perceptions pertaining to open government.

The survey went to the targeted respondents on Wednesday, July 31, but results will not be available for several weeks. To ensure maximum participation by targeted respondents, despite vacations and other summertime absences and distractions, Bunting and Baron decided to leave the survey in the field until mid-August.