Time and time again we have seen journalists and citizens denied public record requests and left with no recourse other than to sue. Yet, how many journalists – or journalism organizations – have the resources or gumption to file a lawsuit? Unfortunately, very few, and research shows fewer news organizations are willing to sue. The intimidation factor itself is the largest barrier, and a lot of government agencies know that, following the unwritten policy of only releasing sensitive records when a suit is actually filed. You can stand up to that. Sometimes simply filing a lawsuit will dislodge the records, and at minimum it makes for a good news peg to expose unnecessary government secrecy. This handout will walk you through the pro se (pronounced “pro say”) process of suing on your own, and where you can get the resources to cover your costs. You can do it!
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