A panel discussion today on the Freedom of Information Act dealt with struggles in seeking and obtaining public documents.
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, David Burnham, co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, and Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, discussed FOIA in the panel titled, "Protecting the Right to Know in the 21st Century."
The group said the battle to preserve government transparency shouldn't just be fought in the courtroom using lawsuits to argue for withheld records.
"You should be out there editorializing every week," Dalglish said.
Fidell said the public not only needs the information being withheld, but largely agrees with the ideas of open government that were established by FOIA when it was passed in 1966.
"It struck some cord with the American people," Fidell said. "People really believe in the Freedom of Information Act."
Burnham added that the media aren't covering the denial of public information or writing stories when documents are withheld.
-- Ginger Gibson