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Friday, November 18, 2022
MFIA Clinic Honored for Advancing Government Transparency and Accountability
At a Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information event, at which the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic received an award for its work: from left, Connecticut Foundation for Open Government President Bill Fish, Stephanie Rice ’23, Jonathan Gibson ’24, MFIA Clinical Fellow Stephen Stich ’17, Council President Dan Klau, and Marlene Arias ’24. (Photo: Gary Lewis)
The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) recently received accolades for its work to promote transparency and accountability from two Connecticut open government organizations.
Last week, the clinic was awarded the inaugural Mitchell W. Pearlman Freedom of Information Award by the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG). In October, the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information (CCFOI) honored MFIA at its annual luncheon.
“This recognition of the important contributions toward government accountability being made by Yale law students is very gratifying,” Floyd Abrams Lecturer in Law and MFIA Director David Schulz ’78 said. “Students in the clinic provide much needed legal support to the essential work of journalists keeping an eye on agencies at all levels of government.”
Named for the founding director of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission, the Pearlman award recognizes MFIA’s work to foster transparency in government, disclose information vital to the public, and ensure that citizens can see their government at work. The award lauded the clinic’s “important work using the Freedom of Information Act to reveal shortcomings in state agencies’ use of algorithms and its representation of Madison Hamburg, director of the Murder at Middle Beach documentary about his mother’s murder.”
CCFOI presented MFIA its Champion of Open Government Award, the first time the award was given to an organization. The award also recognized MFIA’s ongoing work on algorithmic accountability in Connecticut.
MFIA clinical fellow Stephen Stich ’17 accepted both honors on behalf of the clinic.
“I’m thrilled that our students have been recognized for the excellent work they’ve done for local journalists and in service of government accountability,” Stich said.
The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) at Yale Law School is a law student clinic dedicated to increasing government transparency, defending the essential work of news gatherers, and protecting freedom of expression by providing pro bono legal services, pursuing impact litigation and developing policy initiatives.