The Citizen Media Law Project is pleased to announce that its Online Media Legal Network (OMLN) is partnering with the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) to assist with freedom of information lawsuits and to provide online journalists with FOI information and assistance. We are honored to join forces with NFOIC, a key player in the FOI field, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.
From the press release:
The Berkman Center’s Online Media Legal Network (OMLN) announced today that it is partnering with the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) to assist with freedom of information lawsuits and to provide online journalists with FOI information and assistance."We’re thrilled to partner with the OMLN to help online journalists with FOI issues, and thanks to the Knight Foundation’s generous support, we’re in position to fight the never-ending battle for open government," added Charles Davis, Executive Director of the NFOIC. "The NFOIC and the OMLN are working together to make government at the state and local level more transparent and accountable."
Earlier this year, the NFOIC received a $2 million, three-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to launch the Knight FOI Fund and support state open government groups. The Knight FOI Fund will fund up-front costs such as court costs, filing fees, depositions and initial consultation fees, if attorneys are willing to take freedom of information cases that otherwise would go unfiled.
OMLN, which launched in November 2009 with funding from the Knight Foundation, is a referral network for lawyers and law school clinics that wish to offer legal assistance to online journalists and other digital media creators. Lawyers participating in OMLN provide qualifying clients with free and reduced fee legal assistance on a broad range of legal issues, including business formation and governance, copyright licensing and fair use, freelancer agreements, access to government information, pre-publication review of content, and representation in litigation. The network is administered through OMLN’s website at http://www.omln.org/.
As part of the partnership, OMLN will help identify appropriate cases for the Knight FOI Fund and will make its growing network of media lawyers available to help the NFOIC and its state coalitions pursue the most promising cases. "We are excited to be working with the NFOIC on this critically important issue," said David Ardia, Director of the OMLN. "We’ve clearly seen a decline in the number of FOI cases because news organization simply can’t afford the legal costs of bringing suit. The Knight FOI Fund will help to reverse this trend."