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”




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

New York

RISK: A film by Laura Poitras

Debut screening of a biographical documentary about Julian Assange followed by a conversation with Laura Poitras, Academy Award winning director, and Jameel Jaffer, Director of the Knight Institute