Hello. I’m Ed Cafasso, a former reporter and editor in Boston. I’m a New England First Amendment Coalition board member.
I’ve seen freedom of information issues from all sides over the course of my professional career as a journalist, as a public sector communicator, and as a reputation management executive for nearly 20 years.
There are important reasons to support NEFAC that go well beyond the challenges facing reporters at the local, state and federal level. The First Amendment is not just about freedom of the press.
When you think about many of the events that have changed the trajectory of history, that have changed companies, industries, communities and lives, you realize that most, if not all, of them would not have happened without the First Amendment. Desegregation, gender equality, the end of the Vietnam War, civil unions, the rise of corporate social responsibility, healthcare reform, social media that enable everyone to be publisher – there is a long, ever-growing list of instances where freedom of information and expression has played a critical role.
The reporters who pursue and publish news and information; the citizens who speak out at town hall or blow the whistle online; the politician who is creating policy based on constituent demands – these are just a few examples of the essential but vastly under-valued role the First Amendment plays in our democracy.
NEFAC makes difference every day as a courageous, independent advocate explaining and defending the right of everyone to use the First Amendment to shape the world around us.
So, it’s as much about the ability of a mother to get records from her school district as it is about journalists breaking big stories in Washington, D.C. It’s about transparency, accountability and education at every level of our society.