Unfortunately, it’s now official. The public’s right to know is not “basic to the maintenance or well-being of the Union.”
The “relentless focus” on building an audience must not overwhelm digital journalism’s obligation to report complex issues and investigate public and private corruption, GlobalPost co-founder and CEO Philip Balboni said Wednesday.
Under the legislation, and contrary to current law, all school safety plan discussions would take place in closed school committee meetings, and every document produced by school safety teams would be exempt from disclosure under the open records law. Although ways to best protect students from very rare, but terrible, tragedies like Newtown are the subject of lengthy nationwide debate, passage of this legislation would quash much of that debate in Rhode Island.
The moral of the story is this: Chafee did the right thing for Rhode Island and transparency by releasing the report. Sometimes it takes the media, citizens and open-government advocates paying attention to the issues and what is going on beneath the surface to encourage our elected officials to do the right thing. Next time, I hope we will see transparency in the first instance so we have less grist for talk radio, perhaps, but more of a trusting partnership between the government and its people. After all, “trust Chafee” is our governor’s motto. Perhaps we should add to that “trust the people; we can handle the truth.”