South Carolina open records initiative launched to shine light on actions of public officials, agencies
Non-profit dedicated to battle public access, protect and strengthen state FOIA
COLUMBIA, SC - Public Access to Public Records (PAPR) launched in February dedicated to shining a light on South Carolina government by using the state Freedom of Information Act to obtain access to records created and maintained by public officials and agencies.
All public records obtained by the non-profit through the SC FOIA are posted to its website, papr.org.
The non-profit's mission is to promote public access to public records, as well as to protect and strengthen the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act and other public disclosure laws that enable citizens to fully exercise their right to know how their government works on their behalf.
"We formed PAPR in response to what we saw as a critical need to bring additional resources to bear in the ongoing fight for release of public records in South Carolina," said Board President William Fox, a 32-year veteran of South Carolina journalism who previously served as Managing Editor of The Greenville (South Carolina) News.
"We're prepared to take our fight to court in cases where the public is denied access it is due," said Fox, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and two-time SC Journalist of the Year.
Also serving on the board are Chris Bryant, a Charleston-based attorney with a passion for government transparency and accountability, social justice and public education; and Porter Barron, an award-winning journalist who previously wrote for the Free Times in Columbia, South Carolina, and reported on vice, kleptocrats and the aftermath of Pol Pot's mass killings for The Cambodia Daily.
The three-member volunteer board accepts FOIA suggestions from whistleblowers, concerned citizens and other members of the public through its website, papr.org, or by bringing ideas directly to the attention of board members.
Suggestions submitted through the website may be made anonymously or by optionally providing contact information.
The board considers FOIA Request ideas under a variety of criteria, including the level of public interest to the information sought, potential news value, and whether an identical or similar request previously prompted resistance.
Upon majority vote of the board, approved suggestions are referred to legal counsel to assist in formulating and submitting a PAPR disclosure FOIA request.
All FOIA projects are summarized on its website, papr.org, where visitors can view and download related documents, including the initial FOIA request, all public documents released and public documents of interest related to PAPR's litigation.
PAPR is dedicated to shining a light on the actions of South Carolina public officials and agencies. Our mission is to promote public access to public records, as well as protect and strengthen the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act and other public disclosure laws that enable citizens to fully exercise their right to know how their government works on their behalf.