The Editorial Board: Open government laws and defamation protections help media keep politicians honest | Editorial


The issues are being contested at all levels of government, from a city council or school board inappropriately trying to hide behind secret executive sessions to former President Donald Trump who allegedly stole classified documents when he left the White House.

The New York Coalition for Open Government, based in Williamsville, conducted a study on compliance with freedom of information and open assembly laws across the state. According to coalition chair Paul Wolf, “75% of planning boards surveyed did not post meeting materials online as required; 61% of school board executive session motions were not in accordance with the law; only 53% of county election commissions complied with a Freedom of Information Act request.

The administration of former New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has obscured numbers on Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents, making the death toll appear lower than what it was at least 6,000.

The Empire Center for Public Policy, which has been aggressive in seeking retirement home data from Cuomo’s health department, has accused Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration of ‘delaying tactics’ in response to its demands FOIL .

One of Madison’s legacies is his opposition to the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it a crime to write, print, publish or say anything false, scandalous or malicious. against the US government. Madison and Jefferson denounced the act as contrary to First Amendment principles, and the act expired in 1801, after Jefferson was elected to the White House.


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