MARYLAND NEWSPAPERS TEST ACCESS TO INFORMATION

By: Staff Reports

Public Documents Denied 3 Out of 4 Times





Twenty newspapers joined forces to survey Maryland’s ability to
produce public records upon request and found that access is denied
50% of the time, The Associated Press reports.



The daily and weekly newspapers, all members of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C.
Press Association, surveyed 23 counties and the city of Baltimore in June.


The newspapers found that requests were promptly filled only one out of
four times.



The representatives requested documents covered by the public information
law such as arrest and driving records, school violence reports, results
of a nursing home inspection, and expense account filed by the local
police chief and a copy of the county school superintendent’s contract.


Tom Marquardt, managing editor of The Capital in Annapolis and chairman
of the survey committee, told the AP that, ‘One thing we found out was
a lack of understanding of what is a public document and what’s not,
what should be released and what shouldn’t. That’s what bothers us the
most.’


According to the survey, sheriff’s and police departments were the worst
offenders, providing arrest records in only six counties.




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