The National Freedom of Information Coalition, an alliance of state open government groups and freedom of information supporters, has selected Nashville for it 2017 summit.
The two-day annual NFOIC summit event brings together state-based nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalists, citizens and attorneys to discuss trends in laws, policies and practices at state and local levels throughout the United States. Its focus is on transparency in government and access to government information.
The two-day conference will be
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14, and will be co-hosted by NFOIC member Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. (Update: NFOIC changed the original dates of its annual conference by moving it later in October. It is now planned for Oct. 13-14.)
This year, the NFOIC annual conference was held in Washington D.C., and included a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the national Freedom of Information Act. Other programming included legislative roundups from across the states, effective advocacy campaigns, policing transparency, proactive disclosure and an examination of appeals processes in public records disputes from different states.
NFOIC is a national nonpartisan alliance of state and regional affiliates promoting collaboration, education & advocacy for open government, transparency and freedom of information. It is organized as a nonprofit 501(c)3 and consists of more than 40 state and regional affiliates.
The NFOIC first met in 1989 in Dallas, Texas. It was called the National Freedom of Information Assembly. The meeting arose out of a need to support specialized First Amendment organizations with the expressed goal to protect the public’s right to know. Known as “free standing,” these organizations began around the country in response to a recognition that government entities and officials were not always willing to recognize the public’s right to access public records and meetings, a necessity in a democracy.
The Assembly met again in Dallas in 1991, the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, and planned to meet in January of the next year to formulate a plan for mutual support. At that meeting, the National FOI Assembly was formally renamed the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Based at the University of Missouri, NFOIC activities include:
- Support to Freedom of Information and First Amendment state-based organizations.
- Administering of the Knight FOI Fund, which offers financial support in open government lawsuits, fueling and assisting the pursuit of important FOI cases.
- Fostering the open exchange of information through networking and an annual conference.
- Counseling and educating appointed and elected public officials on their legal responsibilities around open government and transparency.
- Offering a national, collective voice on freedom of Information issues.
- Supporting member fundraising.
- Exploring critical issues, making recommendations for either state or national action.
- Preparing educational reports or other publications.