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 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 the legislative proposals we’re tracking, download our latest Legislative Watch and follow our regular updates on Twitter @Ga_FAF.
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 Georgia First Amendment Foundation has:
- Educated citizens and elected officials on how to ensure public meetings remain open during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
- Called for increased transparency around COVID-19 public health data.
- Encouraged police departments across Georgia to adopt Citizens’ Right to Record policies.
- Partnered with other First Amendment advocates to provide resources for journalists covering protests.
- Taken 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.
- Successfully advocated in court for expanding public access to information about private entities performing functions for government; reinforcing citizens’ right to record in public spaces and empowering government agencies to release public information otherwise exempted under the Open Records Act.
- Educated 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.
- Worked 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.
- Successfully advocated for increased penalties for government entities that don’t allow access to public meetings, proceedings and records, as required by Georgia law.
- Formally objected to the arrests of journalists covering issues of public interest.
- Conducted in-person and virtual workshops to train citizens, public officials, law enforcement officers and journalists about Georgia’s Sunshine Laws; rights to access public health data; rights to access video from drones and police body cameras; protections for citizens and journalists recording police via personal mobile phones or cameras.
- Written letters of inquiry to help Georgia citizens and journalists gain access to government meetings, court proceedings and public records.