The Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information (CCFOI) on June 19, 2013 honoured three advocates of open government and three investigative journalists at its annual meeting in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Champion of Open Government Award was presented to two former members of the state Freedom of Information (FOI) Commission, Norma Riess and Sherman London. London, the former editorial page editor of the Waterbury Republican-American, served on the commission for 17 years, the longest-serving member in the commission’s history while Riess was appointed to the commission in 1997 but had been its chairman since 2011.
The Council’s Stephen Collins Award, named after the late editor of The News-Times in Danbury, was given to Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant, Keith Phaneuf of the Connecticut Mirror, and Alex Wood of the Journal Inquirer, in honour of their investigative reporting which promotes open government.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo received the Bice Clemow Award for his advocacy in legislation to increase and provide easier public access to state government records and data involving economic development grants. The Clemow Award memorializes the late editor of the West Hartford News, Bice Clemow, who worked closely with Gov. Ella T. Grasso to pass Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act in 1975.
CCFOI was formed by leaders of Connecticut’s news media in 1955 to help pass a strong state Freedom of Information Act. The law was finally enacted in 1975. Since then CCFOI has worked to both strengthen the Act and defend it against the many attempts to weaken or eliminate it.