Weltner Freedom of Information Celebration
Our 21st Charles L. Weltner Freedom of Information Celebration is happening Oct. 26, 2023, at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.
We’re excited to honor state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver as our 2023 Charles L. Weltner Freedom of Information Award honoree. We’re celebrating Rep. Oliver’s legislative service in furtherance of government transparency and accountability. Over nearly four decades as an elected official, she has been a stalwart protector of Georgians’ right to know and to exercise their free speech rights.
We’re also giving our Open Government Hero award to the Georgia Library Media Association for their work pushing back against censorship in our schools.
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About the Award
In the spirit of the late Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles L. Weltner, the annual Weltner Freedom of Information Award honors a person or group whose work has significantly improved freedom of information in Georgia. Justice Weltner was an unyielding champion of government transparency. His final opinion for the Supreme Court of Georgia in Davis et al v. City of Macon (1992) captured his commitment to First Amendment principles:
“This is the last appeal in which I will participate as a member of the Supreme Court of Georgia… Over the past decade, as I see it, our court has breathed life into some old words that have lain dormant within our constitution for most of their century-old existence. The words are: ‘Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.’(Constitution of Georgia of 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Par. I.)
“We have established that this is no empty phrase, but an obligation that is enforceable in a court of law. Public men and women, above all others, must be of good faith. Neither facile excuse nor clever dissimulation can serve in the stead of duty — faithfully performed. Because public men and women are amenable ‘at all times’ to the people, they must conduct the public’s business out in the open.”