Freedom Of Information Always Under Attack – OP-ED, The Hatford Courant

That Connecticut’s widely heralded Freedom of Information Act is under assault is troubling, but not new.

Since the Newtown tragedy in December 2012, we’ve seen relentless efforts to cut back on public access to police reports and investigatory activities, death certificates and other records that previously were accessible, with limited exception. These stealth attacks on freedom of information are more alarming for their clandestine nature than for the actual changes they will effect in the law. Concealing the processes of governmental policy-making with secret bill drafting strikes at the heart of Connecticut’s strong right-to-know law.

The battle between corrosive secrecy and openness has been going on since the idea of a freedom of information law was introduced in the General Assembly.

As a young lawyer in the early 1970s, I was assigned by my firm to work as a lobbyist at the Connecticut legislature representing trade associations and other clients, including the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association. The idea of advocating for the press, the lifeblood of American democracy, energized me. Even my discovery that the publishers — who paid our bills — called the editorial content of their papers “the newshole” — somehow subservient to the advertising content — didn’t wholly disillusion me. If a focus on advertising revenue and the bottom line was the cost of ensuring a free, independent press, so be it.Under the leadership of Connecticut daily journalism’s finest — Irving Kravsow of The Courant, Steve Collins of Danbury, Bart Barnes of Bristol, Gene Martin of Waterbury, Judith Brown of New Britain, Dean Avery of New London and Carter White of Meriden — the press was determined to expand the public’s right to know.

A prototype freedom of information law was on the books, but it was weak, allowing public agencies to close their meetings for any reason, or for no reason at all, and to keep many public records confidential. The association’s legislative efforts to strengthen the law were routinely rebuffed. And even if we could have gotten a strong freedom of information bill passed, we had no confidence that Gov. Tom Meskill, no great fan of the press, would sign it.

Then two things happened: First, Watergate, and all of a sudden government secrecy was out and the public’s right to know was in vogue. Second, a dynamic congresswoman, Ella Grasso, was elected governor. Public sentiment toward governmental reform and freedom of information, combined with Gov. Grasso’s support, prompted the legislature to pass a freedom of information law with teeth.

Many had advocated a sunshine law like Florida’s, theoretically absolute but unworkable in the real world. More subtle and perceptive minds took over, realizing that no declaration of absolute rights to open meetings and open files could trump the crafty and creative efforts of lawyers without some special institutional muscle.

A new Freedom of Information Act was born in 1975, and with it, the Freedom of Information Commission. Originally, the commission was advised and represented by an assistant attorney general, but it soon became apparent that allowing the government’s lawyers to act as watchdogs on the government did not cut it. Mitch Pearlman was named the commission’s executive director and general counsel, a job he held for the first quarter-century of its existence.

As chief lobbyist for Connecticut’s press for two decades, I played Madison to Pearlman’s Jefferson. Almost before the ink of the Freedom of Information Act was dry, the forces of secrecy in government regrouped and mobilized. It became clear that many municipal agencies, public employee unions and other constituencies felt more comfortable when secrecy and confidentiality were the rule rather than the exception in government.

Some relentlessly tried to create exceptions to the presumption that all public records and meetings were open and available to the public, bringing appeals and challenges that courts were often only too eager to bless with success. Pearlman and I collaborated yearly at the legislature in attempts to repair the gaping holes that sometimes resulted from such challenges.

The good fight continues as the Freedom of Information Act approaches 40 years old. Let’s keep it strong and keep the public’s business public.

J. Charles Mokriski, a former Hartford lawyer, now practices in New York.

219 Replies to “Freedom Of Information Always Under Attack – OP-ED, The Hatford Courant”

  1. Undeniably consider that which you said. Your favourite
    reason appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to remember of.

    I say to you, I certainly get irked even as people consider concerns that they plainly don’t recognise
    about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and outlined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , other folks could
    take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  2. I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this web site yourself?
    Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own personal website and would like to know where you got this from
    or what the theme is named. Thanks!

  3. I simply want to tell you that I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and absolutely loved this web site. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your site . You amazingly have great stories. With thanks for sharing your webpage.

  4. This is the right blog site for anybody who intends to learn about this subject. You recognize a lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want?HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic thats been covered for years. Fantastic stuff, simply terrific!

  5. I?m pleased, I should say. Really hardly ever do I experience a blog site that?s both instructional and also enjoyable, as well as let me inform you, you have struck the nail on the head. Your suggestion is exceptional; the concern is something that inadequate individuals are speaking smartly about. I am very pleased that I came across this in my search for something associating with this.

  6. Oh my goodness! an incredible write-up dude. Appreciate it Nonetheless I’m experiencing problem with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to register for it. Perhaps there is everyone obtaining identical rss dilemma? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  7. I do consider all the ideas you’ve presented to your post.
    They’re really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very
    short for starters. May you please prolong them
    a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  8. The next time I read a blog site, I really hope that it does not disappoint me as long as this set. I suggest, I recognize it was my selection to read, but I in fact assumed youd have something interesting to claim. All I listen to is a number of grumbling about something that you could fix if you werent too busy seeking attention.

  9. Aw, this was a truly nice article. In suggestion I wish to place in composing similar to this additionally? taking time and also actual effort to make a great write-up? yet what can I claim? I procrastinate alot and never appear to obtain something done.

  10. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now 😉

  11. Aw, this was an actually great article. In idea I would love to put in creating such as this furthermore? taking some time and real initiative to make a great article? however what can I state? I procrastinate alot and also never seem to get something done.

  12. Can I simply claim what an alleviation to locate a person that really knows what theyre speaking about online. You absolutely recognize exactly how to bring an issue to light as well as make it crucial. More people need to read this and also recognize this side of the story. I angle think youre not a lot more preferred since you certainly have the present.

  13. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the
    meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.

  14. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading
    it, you are a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and definitely
    will come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a
    nice weekend!

  15. Oh my benefits! a fantastic article man. Thank you Nevertheless I am experiencing concern with ur rss. Don?t understand why Not able to register for it. Is there anybody obtaining the same rss trouble? Any individual who understands kindly react. Thnkx

  16. Youre so cool! I do not suppose Ive check out anything like this prior to. So nice to locate somebody with some initial thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little creativity. valuable task for bringing something new to the web!

  17. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

  18. I?d have to talk to you below. Which is not something I generally do! I take pleasure in reviewing a blog post that will certainly make people think. Likewise, many thanks for enabling me to comment!

  19. This is the right blog for any person who intends to discover this subject. You recognize a lot its nearly difficult to argue with you (not that I in fact would want?HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject thats been blogged about for several years. Excellent stuff, simply fantastic!

  20. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this
    website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

    Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog
    and would like to know where u got this from.

  21. May I just say what a comfort to find somebody that really
    understands what they’re discussing online. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light
    and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this
    side of the story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

  22. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it
    looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Other then that, superb blog!

  23. I was really happy to discover this web-site. I wanted to thanks for your time for this terrific read!! I absolutely appreciating every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new things you blog post.

  24. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the longer term
    and it is time to be happy. I have learn this post and if I may just I want to suggest you
    some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write
    subsequent articles referring to this article. I wish to learn even more
    issues approximately it!

  25. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I assume that you need to create extra on this subject, it may not be a frowned on subject but generally people are not nearly enough to speak on such subjects. To the following. Thanks

  26. An outstanding share, I simply provided this onto an associate who was doing a little analysis on this. As well as he actually acquired me morning meal because I located it for him. smile. So let me rephrase that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for investing the time to review this, I really feel highly regarding it and also love finding out more on this subject. When possible, as you come to be know-how, would certainly you mind updating your blog with even more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Big thumb up for this post!

  27. An interesting conversation is worth remark. I assume that you should write much more on this subject, it could not be a frowned on subject yet normally individuals are inadequate to talk on such topics. To the following. Thanks

  28. Can I just say what a relief to discover someone that actually recognizes what theyre speaking about on the web. You certainly understand exactly how to bring a problem to light as well as make it essential. More individuals require to read this and comprehend this side of the tale. I angle believe youre not a lot more prominent since you absolutely have the gift.

  29. Wonderful post. I learn something a lot more difficult on various blog sites everyday. It will constantly be boosting to check out web content from various other writers and exercise a little something from their shop. I?d like to utilize some with the material on my blog site whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll offer you a web link on your web blog. Many thanks for sharing.

  30. I’m not sure why but this blog is loading very slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?

    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.
    cheap flights 31muvXS

  31. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard
    on. Any recommendations? 31muvXS cheap flights

  32. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m
    impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part 🙂
    I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  33. Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  34. I am often to blog writing and i actually appreciate your web content. The write-up has truly peaks my passion. I am mosting likely to bookmark your site and maintain looking for brand-new information.

  35. I found your blog website on google and also examine a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain the great operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Viewers. Seeking forward to reading more from you later!?

  36. Aw, this was an actually great blog post. In concept I want to put in composing like this in addition? taking some time and real effort to make a very good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate alot and also never seem to obtain something done.

  37. I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it friend

  38. After study several of the web sites for your website now, and that i truly such as your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and are checking back soon. Pls consider my website at the same time and make me aware if you agree.

  39. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  40. There are some intriguing points in time in this short article yet I don?t recognize if I see every one of them center to heart. There is some legitimacy but I will take hold opinion till I check out it additionally. Good short article, thanks and also we want a lot more! Included in FeedBurner as well

  41. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less.
    I’ve been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform.
    I have heard fantastic things about
    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it?
    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  42. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing
    issues with your blog. It seems like some of the written text in your
    posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is
    happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my internet
    browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Appreciate

  43. Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing
    the other person’s blog link on your page at appropriate
    place and other person will also do similar in favor of you.

  44. I was very pleased to discover this web-site. I intended to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little of it and I have you bookmarked to check out brand-new things you post.

  45. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jersey

  46. Pingback: Yeezy Mafia

  47. Pingback: Yeezy 380

  48. Pingback: Nike Outlet

  49. Pingback: UGGS Outlet

  50. Pingback: Human Races

  51. Pingback: Air Max 97

  52. Pingback: Yeezy Boost 350

  53. Pingback: Yeezy 350

  54. Pingback: Yeezy 380

  55. Pingback: Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3

  56. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *