Sunday, March 12, 2006

Your access to open records is eroding

For the second time in three years, a statewide audit by news organizations revealed that Florida's local government agencies consistently fail to provide citizens with unfettered access to public records.

Overall, 42 percent of the 220 local agencies audited violated the state's public records laws.

Florida's courts have established that government officials can't require citizens to give their names, reveal their employers or explain why they want a record. Read Florida's public records law here.

Read the Ocala Star-Banner article about the audit here.

Listen to "The Open Record Blues," a song based loosely on two lawsuits filed in the 1990s against the Madison Police Department, seeking records of complaints against police officers. The newspapers won both lawsuits.

Sunshine Week -- March 12-18 -- is an initiative spearheaded by the American Society of Newspaper Editors to encourage dialogue about openness in government. Read more here.


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