Friday, February 19, 2010

A Culture of Secrecy in Mississippi Governments

Congrats to the Mississippi Press Association et al for this very informative series on the pervasiveness of State and Local Government Secrecy.

Second-term Gov. Haley Barbour rarely releases his public schedule, despite repeated requests by The Associated Press. Previous governors, Democrat and Republican, released their schedules regularly _ though sometimes only after prodding from the media.

People who want public information about arrests are routinely told by lower-level employees of sheriff's departments and police departments that the information can't be given out over the telephone.

Elected boards sometimes state one reason for going into closed session, as they're required to do, but then discuss additional business while they're there, which they're not supposed to do.

In this series, journalists from across Mississippi are examining strengths and weaknesses of people's ability to get public information or attend what are supposed to be open meetings. The series is coordinated by The Associated Press and the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information.