GFAF in the News

Contending that Georgia’s new voting law “has imposed new and dangerous restrictions on news gathering that threaten the ability of the public and press to remain informed about Georgia elections,” GFAF in late June filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case examining the law. In an order issued Aug. 20, a federal judge in Atlanta ruled the law’s ban on photographing ballots was unconstitutional. The judge allowed other parts of the law to stand, despite First Amendment arguments. Read news coverage of the ruling in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Photo courtesy of Casey Sykes/AJC.

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation is a resource to media organizations throughout Georgia. Here are some of the latest news stories featuring GFAF sources. To request information or an interview, please contact us at info@gfaf.org.


2021

September

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: DeKalb audit raises questions about transparency

WSB-TV: DeKalb County not releasing findings on security of employee information

The Current: Glynn commissioners flout open meetings law to push manager pick

August

WMAZ-TV: The public needs to know what’s happening in the courts

July

Georgia Recorder: Ga. lawmakers study ways to balance ‘Big Tech’ bans vs. business rights

Associated Press: Judge to hear arguments in Georgia election law challenge

June

Saporta Report: Atlanta city clerk to halt removal of candidates’ info from documents after legal questions

Marietta Daily Journal: After violating Sunshine Laws, Cobb school board calls for special meeting

AJC: Cobb County schools budget hearing beset by ‘technical difficulties’

Reason: No heckler’s veto: Court reverses nuisance verdict chiefly based on actions of protesters and arsonists

AJC: Court throws out $1.4 million verdict against Marietta abortion clinic

Daily Report: Court of Appeals tosses ‘nuisance’ verdict against abortion clinic

May

AJC: As pandemic raged, Georgia public health advisory board failed to meet

April

WMAZ-TV: Macon District Attorney’s Office promises records on 63 ‘released’ inmates

March

AJC: Pandemic changes public meetings for good

Gainesville Times: Two cybersecurity bills could mean the public knows less about cyberattacks

Georgia Recorder: Will knowing less about cyberattacks really make Georgians safer?

WSB-TV: Experts say bills will make it easier for government to hide cyberattack details

Flagpole: Open Records Complaint Filed Against CCSD

Athens Banner-Herald: Parent complaint against Clarke County School District filed, requests more COVID-19 data

WSB-TV: 3 Johns Creek officers off the job for allegedly leaking information to metro reporter

February

WSB-TV: State complaint filed against school system over COVID-19 data request

CNN: Republican legislators around the country seek to strip governors and officials of emergency election powers

Georgia Recorder: Melton to step down after leading Georgia courts through COVID crisis

AJC: Fulton elections board makes ‘invalid’ vote to fire elections director

January

AJC: Ga. health officials won’t say where UK coronavirus variant has surfaced in state

AJC: Metro area schools weigh burden of reopening policies amid COVID-19

Atlanta Magazine: Yes, it’s legal to record a phone call in Georgia without telling the other person

2020

December

WSB-TV: City of Atlanta refuses to answer whether it was impacted by massive computer attack

Clayton Crescent: Forest Park council, boards vote to upgrade meeting livestreams

Reason: Heckler’s veto: $1.5 million nuisance verdict against abortion clinic, chiefly based on actions of protesters and arsonists

WSB-TV: Ga. Board of Education withholds information on spending irregularities a year after report is complete

November

Reporter Newspapers: As Civic Dinners booms, some question diversity, open meetings issues

Washington Post: Robin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week.

October

East Cobb News: Cobb school board returns to in-person meetings

Center Square Georgia: Cost can be high to obtain public records in Georgia

September

AJC: Public comment cut from live Cobb school board meeting again

AJC: Georgia demands $22,434 for COVID-19 records, says they’ll be ready next spring

August

Augusta Chronicle: Augusta officials call, cancel CARES Act meeting

WSB-TV: Texts suggest former Johns Creek police chief held out for larger settlement to leave department

AJC: Cobb schools cut public comments from live, virtual meeting

AJC: Georgia keeps key virus information from public

AJC: With few details, DeKalb Schools approves contract to ease crowding

July

Reporter Newspapers: Buckhead Coalition rethinks its mission

Valdosta Daily Times: County hides behind closed doors

Georgia Health News: Health agency stalling on requests for COVID-19 emails, critics say

Publication of commentary First Amendment rights spark justice and seed change in Georgia

June

Augusta Chronicle: Augusta attorney ‘frustrated’ release of husband’s deleted emails seeking city work

Valdosta Daily Times: Disclose health data clearly

Athens Banner-Herald: State COVID data ‘opaque’ as infections rise in Georgia

Georgia Public Broadcasting: Experts say Georgia’s data on COVID-19 seems lacking

Valdosta Daily Times: Law enforcement detains two journalists covering Atlanta protests

May

Georgia Recorder: Middle Georgia federal court affirms right to record in public spaces

WMAZ: Citizen journalist says he was arrested for filming in city hall lobby

April

Publication of commentary Recalibrating the balance: Increasing transparency around COVID-19 while still respecting privacy

In Georgia:

Around the nation:

March

Marietta Daily Journal: A pandemic doesn’t mean the end of open government, experts agree

Valdosta Daily Times: Experts address how to comply with open meetings laws amid pandemic

Insider Advantage: Legislature should be covered by Open Records Act

AJC: Municipalities weighing public access, safety at government meetings

Valdosta Daily Times: Transparency town hall set for Monday: How to keep public meetings open in an emergency

Georgia Recorder: Government transparency in the time of coronavirus; virtual meeting tips

AJC: State of emergency: Coronavirus changes how local governments meet

Reporter Newspapers: Sandy Springs Council halts most ‘non-essential’ city decision-making during pandemic

Valdosta Daily Times: It’s always your right to know

Reporter Newspapers: New Sandy Springs police shooting details revealed; AG says city was wrong to withhold reports

February

Rome News-Tribune: Bills pushed to give Georgians with criminal histories a second chance

January

Valdosta Daily Times: Bill may broaden sealing records

Valdosta Daily Times: First Amendment advocates warn of media oversight

AJC: Atlanta audit committee’s private meetings an apparent violation of law

Valdosta Daily Times: Zachary: Lawmakers can show First Amendment support

2019

December

AJC: Atlanta mayor orders restriction of access to pot conviction records

The Center Square: Former Atlanta mayor’s staffer to stand trial for violating Georgia’s Open Records Act

Valdosta Daily Times: Zachary First Amendment Foundation president

Atlanta Magazine: Flashback: The Georgia Representative who gave up Congress to oppose segregation

WSB-TV: Trial for former press secretary set to begin soon

November

Reporter Newspapers: First DeKalb airport meeting after fatal crash lacked public notice, may have violated Open Meetings Act

October

Daily Report: First Amendment group honors late Chief Justice Hines

Georgia Recorder: Ga First Amendment group honors late Chief Justice Harris Hines

Union Recorder: Red Book catalogs Georgia open government laws

AJC: Atlanta unveils new policy to improve compliance with open records laws

September

Marietta Daily Journal: Chastain: Comment ban stemmed from increasing partisanship

Daily Report: First Amendment Foundation to honor late Chief Justice Hines

August

Moultrie Observer: Open government, better government

July

AJC: Media group sues Roswell for full access to crime reports

The New York Times: “Drag this out as long as possible”: Former official faces rare criminal charges under open-records law

WSB-TV: Mayor Reed’s former press secretary will not accept plea bargain

June

Valdosta Daily Times: Don’t be caught without your Red Book

May

WSB-TV: Every public agency in the state must follow open records law — except one

The Marietta Daily Journal: Cobb BoE strikes down Howard’s move to include public comment in minutes

April

The Guardian: Georgia lawmakers consider bill that takes aim at state’s journalists

Washington Post: A board to oversee Georgia journalists sounds like Orwellian fiction. The proposal is all too real.

Valdosta Daily Times: Fettered press not a free press

AJC: Georgia House Republicans file bill to create state Journalism Ethics Board

March

Valdosta Daily Times: First Amendment Foundation promotes transparency with newly elected officials

Chattanooga Times Free Press: These Georgia bills could ban secret recordings, severely restrict abortions, allow the state to take over the airport and more. Are they still alive?

WSB-TV: State attorney general’s office criticizes DeKalb school board plan to hold secret meeting about spending

February

 WABE: Former Reed aide accused of open records violations: A talk with 1st Amendment attorney

Daily Report: Kasim Reed’s former spokeswoman charged with open records violations

Augusta Chronicle: Attorney General prosecuting Atlanta employee over open records requests could have Augusta implications

WSB-TV: Mayor Reed’s former press secretary criminally charged with open records violations

The Union-Recorder: Secret recordings can protect public right to know

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Georgia Senator’s proposed secret recordings ban draws questions, public response

AJC: Georgia bill would have barred taping that helped sink Cagle campaign

Forsyth County News: Why the Forsyth County fire department has decided to encrypt its radios, and why that concerns First Amendment expert

Reporter Newspapers: Fear rises as GDOT eyes back yards, houses for toll lanes

January

Savannah Morning News: Editorial – Legislature should open records, meetings

WSB-TV: The First Amendment Foundation says a school system shouldn’t hide info from the public

AJC: Nonprofit hospitals under pressure over transparency, charity


2018

December

AJC: Public’s access to records still a challenge for metro Atlanta agencies

Valdosta Daily Times: EDITORIAL: Public must be notified of called meetings

Brechner Center: “Big [expletive] problem”: a battle over open records in Atlanta

November

Georgia State Signal: From the Editor: Why and how to request public records

AJC: Banned No More: Georgia city backs down on lifetime banishment for two

AJC: CNN sues White House to regain Jim Acosta’s press credentials

AJC: Can a city ban a woman it deems a nuisance? One in Georgia is trying

October

Georgia Health News: Northside suffers another legal setback in fight over its records

WSB-TV: WSB, AJC donate legal fees won from suit against city to Georgia First Amendment Foundation

Daily Report:  First Amendment group honors judge for transparency

AJC: AJC, Channel 2 donate $80,000 to support government transparency

WSB-TV: City of Atlanta settles abuse of open records claims with AJC, WSB-TV

September

AJC: Opinion: Welcome moves toward transparency

WSB-TV: Group dedicated to easy access to open records approves of new law

Daily Report: Judge Bodiford honored for open courtrooms

Marietta Daily Journal: Cobb Superior Court judge wins freedom of information award

August

AJC: Buford schools apologizes over slurs in tape

AJC: Bottoms releases summary of investigation into disputed $40k payment

July

AJC: Watchdogs: Atlanta skirting records law in probe of $40,000 payment


June

AJC: Payday lending group loses lawsuit over record release

WSB-TV: Atlanta City Hall does not face criminal charges in records probe


May

AJC: Were Rosanne Barr’s free speech rights violated when Disney fired her?

AJC: Failure to release subpoena may have broken Georgia records law

WSB-TV: Open records advocates say GBI’s criminal investigation into City of Atlanta pointing higher and higher


April

WSB-TV: Texts show top Reed aide pressured officials to delay records release

AJC: Two AGs known for transparency hired in Atlanta open records case

GSU Signal: Will governor sign campus speech bill?

AJC: Georgia’s top candidates: Make harassment complaints publicly available


March

Daily Report: First Amendment group seeks fix to e-filing legislation as it nears a vote

AJC: Torpy at Large: The stench of Atlanta City Hall’s “POO” strategy

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Catoosa County’s use of executive session questionable

AJC: Federal lawsuit targets Georgia policy blocking gun control protest

Dalton Daily Citizen-News: Jim Zachary: Open government is the best government

WSB-TV: “Drag this out”: Texts reveal Reed administration’s effort to keep public records from WSB

WALB News 10: GA Supreme Court vacates Grinstead gag order


February

Milledgeville Union-Recorder: EDITORIAL: Keep lottery transparent

Daily Report: Bar tackles sex harassment, fake news and gun control

KSU Sentinel: Georgia Supreme Court case involving KSU study could have impact on open record laws

AJC: Court hears arguments about open records in payday loans case

AJC: Georgia Senate passes bill that would give lottery winners anonymity

The Brunswick News: News groups’ petition to court is right


January

AJC: The Jolt 1/29

Decaturish: Open government advocates question alteration of Avondale City Manager’s contract