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Newsletter editor-publisher wins major Freedom of Information court decision.

Matthew Lee, executive editor of the South Bronx-based Inner City Press and editor of the in-depth newsletter Inner City Opinion, last month won a major court decision that declared unconstitutional Delaware's residency requirements for those requesting public records. On August 17 the federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that the benefits of Delaware's public records laws must be made available to any person who requests them, regardless of state residency.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Judge D. Brooks Smith said, "Delaware's public records law discriminates on its face between citizens and non-citizens."

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press enthusiastically endorsed the opinion. "This is an important victory for public access that travels beyond Delaware," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of RCFP. "Pennsylvania and New Jersey have similar statutes and are both in the same federal judicial circuit as Delaware. This decision should mean a change in their laws as well."

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit back in November 2005, the Reporters Committee joined with Matthew Lee and his attorney, David Vladeck of the Georgetown University Law Center, in asking the court to declare Delaware's state Freedom of Information law unconstitutional based on its discriminatory provisions against anyone residing outside of the state.

Vladeck said that he will "probably bring more litigation" seeking similar results in other states that have state-citizenship requirements in their public records laws.

Delaware attorney general Carl C. Danberg said that the state will not seek further review of the court's decision, according to published reports.

Inner City Press

The court decision is especially critical to reporters and editors like Matthew Lee, whose non-profit organization includes cutting-edge advocacy, reporting, and organizing in the fields of community reinvestment, fair access to credit, insurance, telecommunications, environmental justice, and government and corporate human rights accountability--on a global scale.

In terms of international human rights, for example, the 1987-founded Inner City Press/Community on the Move (ICP) this year is pursuing justice on PNC and Riggs Bank, and its alleged money laundering for Augusto Pinochet and the dictator of Equatorial Guinea.

Deutsche Bank's dealings with Turkmenistan are also in ICP's sights.

Closer to home, ICP has reported on the Federal Reserve, Citigroup, HSBC, General Electric, AIG, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

ICP's newsletters have been called "the journalism of attentiveness." In addition to Inner City Opinion, they include Community Reinvestment Reporter, The Bronx Reporter, Environmental Justice Reporter, Federal Reserve Beat, and Insurance Redlining Reporter.

Plus, its website runs regular updates under such heads as Human Rights: Global Inner Cities, Suggest-a-New-Beat, and Bank Beat.

Inner City Press, P.O. Box 580188, Mount Carmel Station, Bronx, NY 10458, 718-716-3540, fax 718-716-3161, mlee@innercitypress.org, www.innercitypress.org

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1101 Wilson Blvd., #1100, Arlington, VA 22209, 703-807-2100, fax 703-807-2109, www.rdfp.org
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Title Annotation:Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, Inner City Opinion
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 8, 2006
Words:478
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