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The primary objectives and purposes of this corporation shall be: To foster the improvement of, compliance with and public understanding and use of, public forum law, which deals with people’s rights to find out what citizens need to know to be truly self-governing, and to share what they know and believe without fear or loss.
The trends to be overcome mainly consist of:
The approach to overcoming these trends will mainly consist of:
It’s a nonprofit organization established to help journalists and others keep Californians aware of what they need to know to hold government and other powerful institutions accountable for their actions. Its mission is to support and defend open government, an enquiring press and a citizenry free to exchange facts and opinions on public issues. In short, Californians Aware will be a center for information, guidance and initiatives in public forum law.
Public forum law deals with people’s rights to find out what citizens need to know to be truly self-governing, and to share what they know and believe without fear or loss.
These rights are complementary. Open meetings and public records laws keep information about civic issues freely available. Protections for journalists, activists, whistleblowers and others striving to keep the community armed with the facts and their implications complete the circle of law that it takes to keep Californians aware.
After all, ready access to government meetings and files means little if no one dares report or comment on what they learn. And people willing to take a stand and speak out are easily disabled and discredited if the facts and discussions that advance government and other powerful institutions are sealed away from their discovery.
A public forum is a commons for communication—a space where speech on matters of importance to the community is expected and protected. Many public forums are in the public space literally: streets, parks and plazas where citizens interact, informing and persuading one another. Many others are provided by government: official meetings of local and state bodies where citizens address their elected or appointed public servants, on the record.
Still others are privately owned sectors opened by tradition or law to some civic discourse: newspaper editorial pages, radio talk shows and certain large shopping malls where patrons are encouraged to congregate without having to buy. The most dynamic public forum is the newest — in some spaces private but in many others welcoming news, views and discussion — the Internet.
We propose to offer resources to fight them, and to do so without partisanship or ideology. Our only agenda is to allow others’ agendas, however tentative or unpopular at the moment, to be offered and debated for whatever support they may attract.
The challenge has three levels:
Specifically, we can help if you are, for example: