A Precautionary Tale

By Colman M. Herman A year ago last June, I was interested in getting the backstory regarding New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft’s efforts to build a soccer stadium on the former Bayside Expo Center property on Columbia Point in Dorchester, Mass., owned by the University of Massachusetts. So I made a public records request for the relevant […]

Public Officials Beware: The First Amendment Implications of Trump’s Twitter Blocks

By Tatiana Tway The nonprofit, nonpartisan Knight First Amendment Institute recently asked President Trump to unblock the accounts of Twitter users who post comments critical of him on his personal Twitter page. If Trump refuses to unblock the users, the institute has threatened to file a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds. In a June 6 letter to the […]

Deadline Pressure: Rhode Island Should Pass Student Press-Freedom Law

By Edward Fitzpatrick | NEFAC and Roger Williams University Earlier this year, student journalists at a Kansas high school decided to write a profile about their newly hired principal. As they researched the principal’s background, they began unearthing questions about her educational credentials. For example, the young reporters found that she had received master’s and […]

Victory for Public Records Advocates: Mass. High Court Limits Anti-Terrorism Exemption

By Robert A. Bertsche, Jeffery Pyle and Robert Tran All who deal with records held by government entities and employees know the basic rule: In Massachusetts, the public records law states that all records are presumed public unless a specific legal exemption applies. The problem is, the list of exemptions has grown steadily over time, […]

Will Example Set By President Trump on Transparency Be Followed on Local, State Level?

By Brian Hannon Will President Trump’s tough stance on journalists and access to information be repudiated or emulated by state and local officials? That’s a question some open government advocates in New England are now asking. The Obama Administration was notoriously aggressive in its prosecution of leakers and by most accounts fell short of the […]

First Amendment Protects the Right to Give and to Receive

By Andrew Horwitz | Roger Williams University Sadly, Cranston, R.I., has recently joined the ranks of those jurisdictions that have decided that the best way to deal with homelessness is to make it a crime. This national phenomenon, fostered in an environment of ignorance, fear and hatred, is nothing new, but it is suddenly becoming […]

Vermont Press, Others Applaud New Shield Law

By Vermont News First Vermont Gov. Phil Scott recently signed legislation designed to protect journalists from having to give up their confidential sources and prevent government officials from conducting fishing expeditions on what reporters have been told. “A free press is essential to our democracy and this legislation protects the role of journalists as neutral observers,” Scott […]

Statement on 38 Studios Court Ruling

The following is a statement by Access/RI on the recent decision to keep secret grand jury testimony about the 38 Studios case. The New England First Amendment Coalition is a member organization of Access/RI, which is a non-profit freedom of information coalition dedicated to improving citizen access to the records and processes of government in Rhode Island. While […]

NEFAC Testimony in Support of Vermont Legislation Protecting Student Journalists

Michael Donoghue, first vice president of the New England First Amendment Coalition and a former reporter for the Burlington Free Press, testified April 4 on behalf of NEFAC and the Vermont Press Association in favor of legislation protecting student journalists in the state. The legislation can be read here. Below are his planned remarks. Thank you […]

This Sunshine Week, New Hope for Massachusetts’ Transparency — With Caveats

The following blog post is one of several that the New England First Amendment Coalition will publish during Sunshine Week, highlighting the need for government transparency and addressing freedom of information concerns throughout the New England states. When posted, these articles can be read here. By Michael Morisy | MuckRock Public record laws are a bit like […]