Mar 12, 2014
WASHINGTON — The 16th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference will be held Friday, March 14, in the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The conference, presented by the Newseum Institute and OpenTheGovernment.org, brings together groups from all areas concerned with freedom of information and open records, including FOI advocates, government officials, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators.
The conference will feature a discussion on national security and freedom of information issues moderated by Washington, D.C., attorney Abbe Lowell, as well as the American Library Association’s presentation of its annual James Madison Award and Cooke Award, given to national and state individuals or groups that have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know.
Also featured this year are a discussion marking the 10th anniversary of OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition that includes more than 80 organizations working to make the federal government more open and accountable, and a preview of events and activities set for this year’s national Sunshine Week initiative, scheduled for March 16 to 22, sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in support of freedom of information and government transparency.
“One unique quality of National FOI Day is that those in government charged with compliance, legislative branch representatives considering changes to FOIA, and groups proposing those changes all have a chance to speak and be heard,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute.
Hosted each year by the Newseum Institute, in part to commemorate the March 16 birth date of James Madison, the conference is also conducted in partnership with the Project on Government Oversight and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The 2014 conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is expected to conclude at 2 p.m. Attendees should use the Sixth Street entrance to the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum. There is no charge to attend, but attendees are encouraged to register to guarantee seating in advance. To register, contact Ashlie Hampton of the First Amendment Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202/292-6288.
Conference attendees can purchase lunch for $15, payable by cash, check or credit card. A lunch “ticket” may be purchased Friday during a break period before lunch. Menu options will be Cobb salad, Greek salad, Tuscan grilled vegetable salad, chicken penne pasta, homemade beef short rib ravioli and eggplant Neapolitan. All come with antipasto platter, bread, dessert and fruit.
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.
Jonathan Thompson, senior manager of media relations