With National Newspaper Week here (National Newspaper Week runs Oct. 6-12), we want to the recognize Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

A nonprofit organization formed in 1994, GFAF protects the public’s right to know and rights of access.

Its stated mission: “Educate citizens, public officials, journalists and lawyers on Georgia’s open records, open meetings and free speech laws.”

The foundation says the fight for government transparency and free speech has never been more important.

GFAF advocates for government transparency, free speech rights and access to public information, meetings and proceedings.

They offer several services to Georgia’s residents.

Resources: Red, Green and Blue

The foundation’s Citizen’s Guide to Open Government and Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide To Open Records in Georgia are considered to be the most authoritative resources of their kind in Georgia.

The organization offers three books on Georgia Sunshine Law and the Open Records Act, known colloquially as The Red Book, The Green Book and The Blue Book.

The Red Book is “Georgia’s Sunshine Laws: A Citizens Guide to Open Government.”

The Blue Book is “Georgia Law Enforcement and the Open Records Act: A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Open Records in Georgia.”

The Green Book is “Georgia Public Schools and the Open Records Act: A Citizen’s Guide to Accessing School Records.”

All three books contain far more information than can be summarized here and they can each be downloaded off the GFAF website, www.gfaf.org. For bulk copies of the book, contact the Foundation at 404-525-3646.

Training

GFAF open government trainers Jim Zachary and Ken Foskett, along with fellow board members, conduct open records and open meetings workshops for the general public, public officials and journalists throughout the state of Georgia.

Open government training can be scheduled by emailing info@gfaf.org or contacting Foskett or Zachary at zacharyjim@gmail.com

The First Amendment Foundation has conducted workshops to train community groups, law-enforcement officers and journalists about access rights to video from drones and police body cameras, as well as protections for citizens recording police via personal mobile phones or cameras.

Advocacy

GFAF works with First Amendment advocates and media organizations statewide to expand free speech rights, advocates for increased penalties for government entities that don’t allow access to public meetings, proceedings and records, as required by Georgia law, and has formally objected to the arrests of journalists covering issues of public interest.

The foundation has written letters of inquiry to help Georgia residents and journalists gain access to government meetings, court proceedings and public records and filed legal briefs in support of open government causes throughout the state.

Membership

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation is a membership-based nonprofit 501(c) (3).

Those interested can learn more at gfaf.org/become-a-member. Email info@gfaf.org.

GFAF can be followed on Twitter @Ga_FAF.

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