"Access Denied" - Chris Davis and Matthew Doig - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Access Denied" - Chris Davis and Matthew Doig - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

by: Chris Davis, Matthew Doig | publication date: February 7, 2004 | Publication: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) |

"Public officials lied to, harassed and even threatened volunteers who were using a law designed to give citizens the power to watch over their government. In six counties, volunteers were erroneously told that the documents they wanted didn't exist. . . . "

Thirty Florida newspapers, including the Sarasota Herald Tribune, joined forces for a week in January 2004 to test "how officials responded to routine requests for public records. Reporters and other news media employees posing as citizens visited 234 local agencies in 62 of Flordia's 67 counties. Overall, 57 percent of the agencies audited complied with the public records law. The rest made unlawful demands or simply refused to turn over the records. . . ."

Access to online material.