FOI Oklahoma seeks nominations for First Amendment, freedom of information awards for 2016

Nominations are being accepted for FOI Oklahoma’s annual awards program that recognizes individuals and organizations who promote the First Amendment and freedom of information.

The organization’s Black Hole Award is designated for those who stood against dissemination of public information.

The Sunshine Award is presented to a public official or governmental body that has committed to open meetings and open records. The Ben Blackstock Award is given to a nongovernmental person or organization that has displayed a commitment to freedom of information.

The Marian Opala First Amendment Award is presented to an Oklahoman who has promoted education about or protection of the individual rights secured in the First Amendment.

Nominations must include a letter of at least 250 words explaining why the person or organization deserves the award. The deadline is March 17.

Nominations can be emailed to or mailed to FOI Awards, P.O. Box 5315, Edmond, OK 73083-5315.

Award winners last year were Karen Holp, manager of KGOU radio in Norman, the Opala Award; state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, the Sunshine Award; and Ziva Branstetter, editor in chief of The Frontier, the Blackstock Award.

The city of Norman won the Black Hole designation for its refusal to make public the video of University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon punching an OU coed and breaking four of her facial bones. The city still has not released the video.

FOI Oklahoma is a statewide not-for-profit organization that for nearly 30 years has been dedicated to educating the public on the First Amendment and openness in government.

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