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Fri March 18, 2005
FOI Week -- Friday Report
By Butler Cain, Alabama Public Radio
Tuscaloosa, AL – Alabama Public Radio has been reporting on Freedom of Information issues all week. Today, we wrap up with a final look at the issue here in Alabama. Ed Mullins is a professor of journalism at the University of Alabama and an executive committee member of the organization Alabama Citizens for Open Government. The organization works to ensure access to information about the government. And, Mullins says the press isn't just advocating its own self interest.
"But it turns out that the self interest of the press on freedom of information are the same as the attorney general's, are the same as the governor's. This puts the leadership of the state -- and let's face it, the media is a big part of any leadership -- all on the same team. And the attorney general has offered to be the leader in educating the public with the help of the press."
Mullins says there's a sense that the public is getting the message that access to the government is a concern for everyone, not just the press. He also it's a very positive time for the democratic process in the state. He says the approval of Alabama's new open meetings law is personally gratifying for him both as a journalist and educator.