In an age where major public policies are announced and debated through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the courts are increasingly barring public officials from limiting people’s access to social media. In late July, a Virginia judge ruled that public officials do not have the right to block people who disagree with their views from an official Facebook page. A legal challenge also has been brought by people blocked from the president’s @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed. And in August, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine sued on behalf two residents who claim the governor violated their First Amendment rights by blocking them from posting on his “Paul LePage, Maine’s Governor” Facebook page. In the Virginia case, resident Brian Davison sued Loudoun County Board Chairwoman Phyllis Randall for blocking access to her Facebook page after he posted allegations that school board members and their families had possible conflicts of interest.
On July 9, the members of the Wisconsin state Assembly collectively affirmed their support for open government. They passed a resolution stating that the Assembly “remains committed to our state’s open record and open government laws and policies, and will take all necessary steps to ensure that these laws and policies are preserved without modification or degradation.” They vowed to “continue to work to uphold these principles and protections.”
Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel noted the danger of tinkering with transparency at the summit he convened July 29 on open government. “Messing with open government laws is like touching the third rail,” Schimel said. “I think that lesson has been learned recently.”
Nominations are being sought for the 2014 Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award, presented annually to recognize an individual’s extraordinary contributions to open government or investigative journalism in Wisconsin.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, the chief author of Wisconsin’s Open Records Law and a strong advocate of the Open Meetings Law, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award.
Nominations are being sought for the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award, presented annually to recognize an individual’s extraordinary contributions to open government or investigative journalism in Wisconsin.
Dick Wheeler, the late founder of the Wheeler Report, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award in recognition of his four decades of tirelessly opening Wisconsin state government to public scrutiny.
The award is part of the second annual WisconsinWatch.orgdog Awards reception and dinner, presented jointly on Wednesday, April 25, by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times, will be honored April 20 at the first WisconsinWatch.orgdog Awards reception and dinner, presented jointly by the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.