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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Great New FOI Series in Mississippi

The business of government is a costly enterprise, and its stockholders, the people of Mississippi, must feed the treasury year after year to keep the state, counties, towns and cities afloat.

Last year, Mississippi taxpayers ponied up billions to complete their part of the social contract that keeps democracy of, for, and by the people - and the people's pocketbook - alive.

But, in what might be considered a not-so-kind twist to the partnership of people and politicians, those who pass the laws have constantly chosen to limit the information that is shared with the very people who elect them and fund their activities.

At every turn, you will discover where state lawmakers have tightened the flow of information about government that the electorate needs to make informed decisions.

Elected officials too often subvert the public's right to important information when they acquire the paternalistic - even arrogant - notion that they know what is best for us. They continually take steps such as closed-door meetings and create exemptions to state laws intended to keep government open.

Who is protected by acts cloaked in secrecy? An inquiring public shut off from its own business or public officials who want to avoid responsibility for their actions?

News organizations across Mississippi have produced an eight-day series of reports about secrecy in government. These articles represent an extraordinary effort by reporters and editors who are concerned that the lack of transparency in Mississippi is harmful to the state's well-being.

Read it all here.

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