FAC Joins Nationwide Coalition Urging Transparency and Access in Response to COVID-19

Today the First Amendment Coalition joined the National Freedom of Information Coalition and 130 organizations nationwide in a letter to state, tribal and local public institutions raising concerns about transparency and access to meetings and records as these institutions respond to the coronavirus public-health crisis.

Government bodies should not opportunistically take advantage of the public’s inability to attend large gatherings to make critical decisions affecting the public’s interest if those decisions can reasonably be postponed. Just as citizens are being asked to defer nonessential travel and errands, so should government agencies defer noncritical policy-making decisions until full and meaningful public involvement can be guaranteed. Where postponement is not realistic, every available measure should be taken to (1) notify the public of meetings of government bodies and how to participate in those meetings remotely, (2) use widely available technologies to maximize real-time public engagement, and (3) preserve a viewable record of proceedings that is promptly made accessible online.

Read the full letter