The fight for government transparency and free speech has never been more important, and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation is the only organization in our state that’s 100 percent committed to the cause.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation, established in 1994, is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to educate citizens, public officials, journalists and lawyers on Georgia’s open records, open meetings and free speech laws.
As part of our mission, we advocate for government transparency, free speech rights and access to public information, meetings and proceedings. We do that critical work at the state General Assembly, in the courts and in county and city offices across Georgia. Keep up with open government issues in the statehouse via our Legislative Watch.
Our Citizen’s Guide to Open Government, updated in 2019, and our Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide To Open Records in Georgia are the most authoritative resources of their kind in our state.
In recent years, the foundation has helped protect and expand government transparency by:
- Supporting a reporter’s fight to make local government meetings properly accessible to the public.
- Educating citizens and elected officials on how to ensure public meetings remain open during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
- Calling for increased transparency around COVID-19 public health data.
- Calling for greater transparency in law enforcement operations.
- Encouraging police departments across Georgia to adopt Citizens’ Right to Record policies.
- Collaborating with other nonprofits to develop transparency training for police officers in Georgia.
- Advocating for strong public access to Georgia State-wide Business Court proceedings.
- Partnering with other First Amendment advocates to provide resources for journalists covering protests.
- Creating a how-to guide for journalists working during pandemic restrictions.
- Publishing an updated, user-friendly citizen’s guide to Sunshine Laws in Georgia.
- Taking the lead in calling for the Georgia attorney general to investigate the City of Atlanta for Sunshine Law violations, leading to the first criminal prosecution under Georgia’s Open Records Act.
- Advocating in court to secure free speech protections in Georgia; expand public access to information about private entities performing functions for government and protect that expanded access; reinforce citizens’ right to record in public spaces; and empower government agencies to release public information otherwise exempted under the state Open Records Act.
- Educating lawmakers and citizens on the hazards of transparency-reducing proposals, such the creation of a state-backed board to investigate and oversee the media and all-party consent for recordings.
- Working with First Amendment advocates and media organizations statewide to help usher through the Legislature a major expansion of free speech rights — the largest legislative gains in this area in two decades.
- Protesting the detention of journalists covering issues of public interest.
- Pushing for increased penalties for government entities that don’t allow access to public meetings, proceedings and records, as required by Georgia law.
- Writing letters of inquiry to help Georgia citizens and journalists gain access to government meetings, court proceedings and public records.
- Conducting in-person and virtual workshops to train citizens, public officials, law enforcement officers and journalists about Georgia’s free speech and Sunshine Laws.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation is a membership-based nonprofit 501(c) (3). Learn more about membership. Make a donation to support our open government mission. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @Ga_FAF.