Friday, January 21, 2011

FOI Oklahoma seeks nominations for First Amendment, freedom of information awards for 2010

Nominations are open for FOI Oklahoma’s awards recognizing individuals and organizations that promoted the First Amendment and the free flow of information to the public in 2010.

FOI Oklahoma also recognizes those who opposed dissemination of public information with its Black Hole Award.

The Ben Blackstock Award is presented to a non-governmental person or organization that has shown a commitment to freedom of information. The Sunshine Award goes to a public official or governmental body that has shown a commitment to open meetings and open records.

FOI Oklahoma also recognizes an Oklahoman who has promoted education about or protection of the individual rights guaranteed by the First Amendment with its Marian Opala First Amendment Award. The award is named for the late Oklahoma Supreme Court justice, a Polish immigrant who exemplified a belief in First Amendment rights.

This is the fourth year for the open government awards. Last year’s winner of the Blackstock Award was the Tulsa World, and the Sunshine Award was presented to Kristy Yager of the city of Oklahoma City. The Opala Award was presented to Lindel Hutson, retired Oklahoma bureau chief for The Associated Press.

The Black Hole Award went to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and the Oklahoma City attorney’s office.

All four awards will be presented during the Sunshine Week conference March 12 in Oklahoma City. The local conference is in conjunction with national Sunshine Week, March 13-19, which will highlight “Local Heroes” across America who have played significant roles in fighting for open government.

Deadline for nominations for all awards is Feb. 21.

Nominations must include a letter of no more than 250 words justifying why the person or organization is deserving of the award.

Nominations may be made via e-mail to or mailed to FOI Awards, PO Box 5315, Edmond, OK 73083-5315.

FOI Oklahoma is a statewide not-for-profit founded in 1990 to educate the public on the First Amendment and openness in government.

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