MNCOGI presents 2014 Finnegan Freedom of Information Award
On March 14, 2014, MNCOGI hosted its annual Freedom of Information Day event, as a kick-off to the national open-government “Sunshine Week” initiative.
The event featured the presentation of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information award to Marshall Helmberger, publisher of the Timberjay Newspaper, and plaintiff in the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Helmberger v. Johnson Controls case. MNCOGI also presented a lifetime achievement award to Robert Shaw and Rogers Adams for their work on the creation and refinement of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson presented the keynote address.
Who We Are
“The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) is a network of individuals and organizations committed to open access to public information in print, electronic and digital forms. Its members include librarians, media representatives, lawyers, community activists, computer professionals, educators and others who care about openness in government, information access and the public’s right to know.”
Democratic government is possible only if individuals have access to the government information they need in order to hold their government accountable.
Government at all levels has a responsibility to promote public participation by support of open access to all public government information.
Government information, regardless of physical form, must always, to the greatest extent possible, be available to the public. Government information is broadly defined to include all data held by the government including databases, information accumulated from raw data, documents, reports, maps and other publications, and all forms of correspondence.
Creation and preservation of government information that documents governmental operations are fundamental parts of assuring government accountability.
Research and public education about access to and availability of government information are essential to preserve and improve public access.
To assure the vitality of these principles, MNCOGI carries out or encourages the following activities.
MNCOGI promotes public knowledge of laws and principles regarding open access to government information by:
- Maintaining and updating a website with links to resources and directions about how to use Minnesota’s law;
- Posting a blog for discussion of issues about access to government information; and,
- Operating a speaker’s bureau to provide public presentations on access to government information.
MNCOGI informs individuals and organizations concerned about open access to government information by
- Sponsoring “COGI-tations,” a series of presentations by subject matter experts;
- Promoting and supporting research on these topics; and,
- Linking with parallel efforts at the federal level that support Minnesota activities.
MNCOGI collaborates with other organizations to enhance participation in the affairs of government, particularly with regard to public access to government information, by
- Building a coalition of organizations and individuals that promote MNCOGI principles;
- Critiquing legislation, and,
- Evaluating government’s compliance with state law and principles of open access.
MNCOGI recognizes a commitment to openness in government and the public right to know through the awarding of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award on FOI Day, March 16.
MNCOGI seeks grants and conducts other fundraising to increase the visibility of information access issues in the Minnesota community as a whole and in individual communities.
American Library Association – 2005 Eileen Cooke State and Local Madison Award