FOI Oklahoma seeks nominations for 2017 freedom of information, First Amendment awards

FOI Oklahoma is accepting nominations for its annual awards honoring individuals and organizations who promote the First Amendment and freedom of information.

Nominations also are being sought for the Black Hole Award that recognizes a government official who stood against the dissemination of public information.

The Sunshine Award goes to a public official or agency committed to open meetings and 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.

Nomination letters must include at least 250 words explaining why the person or organization deserves the award. The deadline is March 3.

Email nominations to or mail to FOI Awards, P.O. Box 5315, Edmond, OK 73083-5315.

Award winners last year were attorney David McCullough, Opala Award; Frances Kersey, city clerk for Oklahoma City, Sunshine Award; and Dr. Joey Senat of Oklahoma State University, Blackstock Award.

The Black Hole recognition went to former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, now President Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This will be the 11th year for the FOI-related awards. FOI Oklahoma is a statewide organization that for 28 years has promoted education of the First Amendment and government transparency. Journalists, librarians, government officials, educators, attorneys and private individuals are among its members.


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