2009 FOI conference set for March 13

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WASHINGTON — The 11th annual National FOI Day Conference will be held on Friday, March 13, in the Freedom Forum’s Newseum.

The theme of this year’s conference, hosted by the First Amendment Center, is “Freedom and Information: Looking Back and Looking Forward.”

The program will include legal scholars, lawyers and journalists discussing the state of freedom of information after the Bush administration and its prospects in the Obama administration.

David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor, will speak on “The Last Eight Years: Freedom of Information in the Bush Era.” Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archive, will moderate a discussion afterwards with the following commentators: Mike German, national-security expert, American Civil Liberties Union, Mark Tapscott, editorial-page editor, The Washington Examiner, Richard A. Samp, chief counsel for the Washington Legal Foundation, and  Professor Rena Steinzor of the University of Maryland School of Law.

The FOI Day Conference, which brings together access advocates, government officials, lawyers, librarians, journalists, educators and others, is presented in association with Sunshine Week, the American Library Association and OpenTheGovernment.org.

The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at noon. It will be at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., 7th floor. (Use the Sixth Street entrance.)

Ronald K.L. Collins, First Amendment scholar, said, “We as a nation may be at a turning point when it comes to open government. Of course, that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, we need to assess where we’ve been and where we’re going so far as freedom of information is concerned. This year’s FOI conference addresses just such concerns.”

  • There is no charge to attend, but because space is limited, participants must register individually in advance. To register for the 2009 National FOI Day Conference, you must: Send an e-mail to ahampton@freedomforum.org or call 202/292-6288. When registering, please provide your name, title, affiliation and contact information.

    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, and the rights to assemble and to petition the government. It is nonpartisan and neither litigates nor lobbies.

    The First Amendment Center, with offices at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C., is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and is associated with the Newseum and the Diversity Institute. Its affiliation with Vanderbilt University is through the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies. Its offices on the Vanderbilt campus are located in the John Seigenthaler Center.

    Ron Collins, 202/292-6292