National FOIA Hall of Fame
National FOI Day is an annual, daylong program of speaking and discussion by specialists in various aspects of freedom of information, updating developments in FOI over the preceding year.
2010 National FOI Day Conference
The 12th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference was held Monday, March 15, in the Freedom Forum’s Newseum. This year’s conference title was “What Has Become of Freedom of Information?”
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, was keynote speaker for the event.
Hosted by the First Amendment Center, the conference brought together access advocates, government officials, judges, lawyers, librarians, journalists, educators and others to discuss timely issues related to transparency in government. The program was co-sponsored by Sunshine Week and held in cooperation with the American Library Association, OpenTheGovernment.org and the Sunshine in Government Initiative.
The conference included announcement by the American Library Association of the winners of its annual James Madison Award. Receiving the 2010 award were the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the nonprofit group National Security Archive.
The program also featured a session with Miriam Nesbit, director of the Office of Government Information, and Norm Eisen, special counsel to President Obama for Ethics and Government Reform.
Sunshine Week events
For information from previous National FOI Day programs, see cases & resources.
FOI Day history
The idea of a National FOI Day to be observed on March 16 in honor of James Madison’s birthday emerged in the late 1970s. For a number of years, the National Press Club hosted a FOI program on different dates, but that program became subsumed by other interests in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Paul McMasters convened a “National Freedom of Information Summit” at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, bringing together most of the major players on FOI, right to know and government secrecy. That two-day conference resulted in a report titled “Battling for an Open Government.”
In 1996, working with the American Society of Newspaper Editors, McMasters convened another summit at the Freedom Forum on FOIA’s 30th anniversary called “Sunshine & Secrecy: The FOIA Turns 30.”
The first official National FOI Day conference was held at the Freedom Forum on March 16, 1999, and has continued ever since.
'We're in a new era of secrecy'
By Taylor Holliday National FOI Day conference speakers weigh national security, public's right to know. 03.18.04
Nationwide information clampdown frustrates average citizens
Security, privacy fears tip balance against Freedom of Information Act presumption that government records should be open to public. 03.13.05
2005 National FOI Day conference
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Floyd Abrams to speak at event on 'Congress and the Courts: Confronting Secrecy.' 03.15.05
Openness must govern government, Sen. Cornyn says
By Eugenia Harris Democracy requires 'informed consent' afforded by open government, Texas Republican tells conference. 03.17.05
Access faces formidable foe in privacy fears
By Eugenia Harris FOI Day panelists wrangle with what sorts of information should be readily available to public. 03.18.05
FOIA advocates named to national hall of fame
News release Twenty-one champions of open government to be inducted on National FOI Day, March 16. 03.08.06
Challenge to government: Stop shutting off info
By Eugenia Harris Former State Department spokesman Hodding Carter charges journalists to work harder against official secrecy. 03.16.06
President's open-records order: working or worse?
By Eugenia Harris Panelists debate whether effect of executive order helps or hinders freedom of information. 03.16.06
U.S. makes seized Iraqi documents public
Netizens trawling through huge trove being posted bit by bit on Pentagon Web site. 03.28.06
FOI Day 2007
News release Ninth annual conference will bring together more than a dozen nationally known speakers to discuss latest issues in access to government information. 02.19.07
Weinstein, McMasters headline FOI Day
News release U.S. archivist, First Amendment expert, others examine 'Access: Oversight & Priorities.' 03.15.07
Archivist: We're restoring records access
By Eugenia Harris Allen Weinstein discusses National Archives' reclassification project. 03.16.07
James Madison Award goes to Paul McMasters
By Nikki Troia Long-time First Amendment advocate wins honor for championing public's right to know. 03.16.07
Probe classified documents, reporter urges
By Nikki Troia Washington Post's Dana Priest tells FOI Day panel classifications are so overused as to be meaningless. 03.16.07
Bush presidency: accent on secrecy, panelists say
By Eugenia Harris 1966 FOIA law 'hasn’t been completely integrated and accepted by the federal government,' says Meredith Fuchs, National Security Archive. 03.16.07
McMasters decries current culture of secrecy
By Nikki Troia Accepting James Madison Award, McMasters blasts clampdown on government information by Bush administration. 03.16.07
Senator stalls FOI bill, drawing ire of open-government backers
Arizona Republican Jon Kyl raises objections to measure that would plug loopholes in Freedom of Information Act. 06.01.07
Declassified intelligence budget faces new secrecy effort
Just after president signed bill requiring disclosure of how much nation spends on CIA, related agencies, House accepts amendment that would withhold that information from public again. 08.08.07
When secrecy can make us less secure
By Nikki Troia Assailing secretive policymaking, ex-ISOO head J. William Leonard suggests way to balance security, disclosure. Speech 03.14.08
New FOI bill signals renewed push for sunshine
By Eugenia Harris FOI Day panelists say 2007 open-government law was first step; newly introduced measure in Senate is sign of reforms to come. 03.17.08
Safety of bridges, dams and mines: an FOI issue
By Nikki Troia Panel on infrastructure explores how greater openness of government information could save lives. 03.17.08
AP chief: Press should quiz candidates on open government
Tom Curley praises passage of updated FOIA but chides Bush administration efforts that he says undercut the measure. 03.20.08
Audit finds Bush order barely trims FOIA backlog
'Behind its ambitious facade, the order lacked both carrot and stick,' states National Security Archive report. 03.21.08
2009 FOI conference set for March 13
Scholars, journalists will look at where freedom of information stands, how things might change under Obama. 02.11.09
Conyers to headline FOI Day
News release House Judiciary Committee chairman will be keynote speaker for 11th annual conference at Newseum. 03.10.09
AP chief: Teamwork spurs progress
'A united front is the only way [news media] hold down our end of the checks and balances that make the system work,' Tom Curley says in Q&A. 03.15.09
States provide spotty online access to records
Nationwide survey finds that while official documents are increasingly available on Internet, some important information is missing. 03.16.09
Tom Susman receives James Madison Award
American Library Association presents honor to longtime open-government advocate during National FOI Day Conference at Newseum. 03.16.09
AP: Flaws abound in FOIA
Behind the headlines, news cooperative wrestles with bizarre administrative hurdles and jaw-dropping contradictions trying to use federal sunshine law. 03.17.09
Conyers: Probe of Bush administration to continue
By Tony Mauro Congressman also answers questions at FOI Day about cameras in federal courts, presidential signing statements. 03.18.09
Shining the light on presidential secrecy
By Courtney Holliday Panelists explore recent past, preview future of government transparency during 11th annual FOI Day Conference. 03.24.09
What has become of FOI?
News release 12th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference set for March 15 at Newseum, with keynote address by Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo. 03.11.10
Sunshine Week 2010 at a glance
A look at this year's Sunshine Week activities. 03.14.10
Obama deputy: Transparency a priority, but takes time
By Gene Policinski Training is an issue, Norman Eisen says at National FOI Day.
Madison Award 03.15.10
James Madison Award winners announced
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and National Security Archive lawyer Meredith Fuchs honored for promoting public's right to know. 03.16.10
2005 FOI update: federal legislation
Update on FOI-related congressional legislation over the past year for 2005 National FOI Day conference. 03.15.05
‘Strange Bedfellows: Reconciling Privacy & Freedom of Information’
Speech by Lee Levine at National FOI Day conference, March 16, 2005. 03.16.05
National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame
Sunshine Week 2009 at a glance
2010 National FOI Day conference: Agenda
‘FOI and the Consent of the Governed’
Speech by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, at National FOI Day conference, March 16, 2005. 03.17.05
'My first two years: access issues at the National Archives'
Speech by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein at National FOI Day Conference, March 16, 2007. 03.23.07
'Surge in secrecy: Democracy’s incremental disaster'
Speech by Paul K. McMasters at National FOI Day Conference, March 16, 2007. 03.27.07
Last system update:
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | 15:28:49