The ACLU of Virginia protects the right to attend government meetings and obtain public records. This right is guaranteed by the Freedom of Information Act of Virginia, which provides citizens and the media access public records held by public institutions, public officials, and public employees in the Commonwealth.
Government secrecy is a threat to basic democratic principles. Maintaining an informed and involved public is critical to safeguarding all other civil liberties. Yet today, much of our government’s business is conducted in secret. In local jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth, law enforcement and public officials are increasingly unwilling to disclose information to civilians. This secrecy only creates more distrust and tension in our communities, and it undermines the very notion of government of, by, and for the people.
The ACLU of Virginia believes that our government bodies should default in favor of transparency in all public actions whenever and to the greatest extent possible.
Did you know?
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act states that “the Act “shall be liberally construed to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities and afford every opportunity to citizens to witness the operations of government.”