Monday, October 25, 2004

Report: Indiana officials routinely violate records law

Public officials in Indiana routinely violate the state's public records law, according to this report produced by eight Indiana newspapers: "Government officials routinely broke or skirted Indiana's open records law during a statewide test by eight newspapers," the report said. It went on:
Journalists presenting themselves as citizens visited government offices in all 92 counties to see how readily officials turned over documents that are supposed to be available to anyone.

While some journalists easily obtained the records, others were intimidated, questioned repeatedly, put off for days, or wrongly told they needed a court order or subpoena. One county worker said it would take 'an act of God' for him to turn over the public document.

The denial of records demonstrates the uphill fight citizens face in obtaining even the most basic government information paid for with their tax dollars.

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