Open Meetings Act vital to effective journalism

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Alabama Open Meetings Act requires all governmental meetings be open to the public.

This includes members of the media.

The Act states “it is the policy of this state that the deliberative process of governmental bodies shall be open to the public during meetings … except for executive sessions permitted in Section 7a of this act or as otherwise expressly provided by other federal or state statutes, all meetings of a governmental body shall be open to the public and no meetings of a governmental body may be held without providing notice pursuant to the requirements of Section 3.”

Earlier this month, one Alabama town, Paint Rock, located in Jackson County went against this act and the First Amendment banning members of the media and people not from Paint Rock from their meetings.

Local news stations and the local paper, the Jackson County Sentinel, and publisher Brandon Cox, immediately took action in reinforcing the rights that we as members of the media have in the Alabama Open Meetings Act.

We in Selma and in Dallas County are fortunate to have a working relationship which, to our knowledge, has not been banned from any type of government meeting, but welcomed with encouragement and transparency to the business going on with each government entity.

The job of any journalistic organization is to tell the truth.

While some might stray from this ultimate goal, we at the Selma Times Journal are still, and always will be, striving to bring the truth to light.

We applaud our government entities for continuing to work with us in remaining transparent, and hope this relationship will continue.

The Alabama Open Meetings Act is what keeps government officials accountable, and allows members of the media to truly be the effective journalists we strive to be.