Transparency & Democracy

Transparency & Democracy

Ensuring access to information necessary for self-government

The First Amendment embraces the public’s right to access the information needed to hold the powerful accountable and participate fully in the process of self-government.

Our aim in defending and promoting transparency is not simply to compel the disclosure of information that the public is entitled to know, but to broaden public access to information through changes in government policy and the law.



  • Lawsuit

    ACLU v. CIA & Knight Institute v. DOD

    Two FOIA lawsuits seeking records related to the government censorship system of "prepublication review"

  • Lawsuit

    Francis v. DOJ

    A FOIA lawsuit seeking disclosure of Office of Legal Counsel opinions issued over 25 years ago

  • Lawsuit

    Edgar v. Coats

    A lawsuit challenging the government's censorship system of “prepublication review”



New York, NY

Press Freedom, National Security, and Whistleblowers: From Julian Assange to the White House

Human rights and national security experts, United Nations Rapporteurs, and freedom of expression lawyers discuss the debate around WikiLeaks’ publishing, Assange’s prosecution, and the future of whistleblowing

Columbia University, New York, NY

Between Truth and Power: A Conversation with Professor Julie Cohen of Georgetown Law

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Government Secrecy in the Age of Information Overload

Jameel Jaffer discusses shifts in government transparency between the Obama and Trump administrations in annual Salant Lecture on Freedom of the Press