Unfortunately, it’s now official. The public’s right to know is not “basic to the maintenance or well-being of the Union.”
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.”
NEFAC sponsors “sunshine” sessions March 19 and 27 in R.I. and Conn. on mining information from the public record
The New England First Amendment Coalition joins with other advocacy groups in sponsoring a pair of how-to sessions on March 19 and 27 during which investigative journalists will help you navigate freedom of information laws to find what you need.
By Steven Brown, executive director, Rhode Island ACLU The Rhode Island State Police have proposed regulations that, if enacted, would mark a giant step backward for public access to arrest report information in the state.