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Weinstein, McMasters headline FOI Day
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First Amendment Center

  • Agenda

    WASHINGTON — Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Paul K. McMasters, the Freedom Forum's former First Amendment ombudsman, will be the featured speakers at the 2007 National Freedom of Information Day Conference scheduled for Friday, March 16, at the National Press Club.

    The First Amendment Center Online will provide coverage throughout the day.

    Weinstein, a noted historian who heads the National Archives and Records Administration, will open the ninth annual FOI Day Conference with his speech at 8:45 a.m. He will discuss NARA’s recent creation of the National Declassification Initiative and other efforts by the federal agency to improve access to classified and unclassified information.

    McMasters will speak during the luncheon program. He recently retired after a long career in news and First Amendment advocacy for the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center. He is one of the nation's leading authorities on First Amendment and freedom-of-information issues.

    “We always strive to have the most authoritative voices on FOI as part of our programming, and we are most pleased that Dr. Weinstein and Paul McMasters will help us continue that tradition this year," said conference host and organizer Ronald K.L. Collins of the First Amendment Center.

    This year's conference theme is “Access: Oversight & Priorities.” A number of other prominent experts are on the agenda, which will include two panel discussions.

    The first panel, “Publishing Leaks: the Practice & the Law,” will be moderated by First Amendment attorney Laura Handman, and include former Los Angeles Times editor Shelby Coffey, Washington Post national security correspondent Dana Priest, former Time magazine editor in chief Norman Pearlstine, and former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith.

    Appearing on the second panel, “Access Priorities: What Congress Needs to Do,” will be Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Anna Laitin, of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform staff, Laura Rychak, Newspaper Association of America, and David Vladeck, Georgetown Law School. Pete Weitzel of the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government will moderate.

    Also during the conference, the American Library Association will present its James Madison and Eileen Cooke awards to recognize those who have championed access to government information and the public’s right to know. In addition, recent reports, surveys and publications about FOI and government secrecy will be made available at the conference.

    The National FOI Day Conference, one of the events scheduled during the national observation of Sunshine Week, is sponsored by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center, with Sunshine Week and the Sunshine in Government Initiative as co-sponsors, and in cooperation with the American Library Association, the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government and

    Program details and information on registering for the conference may be found on the First Amendment Center Web site.

    The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, the right to assemble and petition the government.

    The First Amendment Center is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and is associated with the Newseum. The center has offices at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and Arlington, Va. Its affiliation with Vanderbilt University is through the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies.

    Press contact:
    Gene Policinski, 615/727-1600

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    2007 National FOI Day conference: Agenda

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