SWLAW Blog | Events

Freedom on Information Symposium 2016

September 20, 2016

The Right to Know: Southwestern Law School to host symposium commemorating “Freedom of Information Laws on the Global Stage: Past, Present and Future.”

On Friday, November 4, 2016, Southwestern Law School will host a symposium on “Freedom of Information Laws on the Global Stage: Past, Present and Future.” The conference, organized jointly by Southwestern’s Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law (JIMEL) and Journal of International Law (JIL), is timed to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Sweden’s freedom of information law, the world’s first, as well the 50th anniversary of the U.S. government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Southwestern Professor Michael M. Epstein, Supervising Editor of JIMEL, is organizing the conference, in tandem with Professor David Goldberg, a media law scholar at the University of London who regularly teaches at Southwestern.  For Professor Epstein, the importance of this conference cannot be over-emphasized.  “In the age of WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, and Edward Snowden, states must work harder to protect information related to governance or their citizens, while preserving the rights of citizens and the press to access that information. The great diversity of participants from around the world at this conference will ensure a full and frank assessment of where we were, where we are, and where we are heading as laws regulating access to government information proliferate on the global stage.”

David Kaye, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, will serve as keynote speaker. Scheduled panelists include journalists from CNN, Buzzfeed, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and many others. Representatives from the U.S. FOIA Ombudsman’s office and the National Library of Sweden will also be participating.

The Call For Papers for this conference has yielded international scholars from Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Australia. Articles written in coordination with the symposium will be published in JIMEL and JIL. For JIMEL subscription information, please click here.  JIL subscription information is available here.

In addition to Mr. Kaye and Professor Epstein, scheduled participants include:

  • Thomas Burke, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP
  • Dr. Clement Yongxi Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, China
  • Silvia Faerman, Associate Professor of Law, Southwestern
  • Adam Foldes Advocacy Advisor, Transparency International, Berlin, Germany
  • Vincent Gogolek, British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
  • David Goldberg, Visiting Professor of Law, Southwestern; Lecturer, University of London.
  • Harry Hammitt, Editor, Access Reports
  • Nate Jones, Director, Freedom of Information Project of the National Security Archive, George Washington University
  • Mike Lemov, Michael R. Lemov LLC, and Nate Jones, FOIA/National Security Center, George Washington University.
  • Lee Levine, Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz, LLP
  • Dr. Tom McClean, Manager, Research Innovation and Advocacy, Uniting, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Kirsten Mitchell, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
  • Venkatesh Nayak, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, India
  • Jonas Nordin, Associate Professor, National Library of Sweden
  • Roy Peled, Director General, Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel, Rishon le-Zion, Israel.
  • Aigbokhan President, Lex Entrepreneur, Nigeria
  • Kelli Sager, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Arne Semsrott, Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e. V., Berlin, Germany
  • Drew Shenkman, Counsel, CNN
  • Nabiha Syed, Buzzfeed
  • Dr. Yong Tang, Western Illinois University
  • Katie Townsend, Litigation Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Mark Weiler, Ph.D., Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada
  • Doreen Weisenhaus, Associate Professor and Director, Media Law Project, The University of Hong Kong
  • Kyu Ho Youm, Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair, University of Oregon

More information on the conference is available here. The symposium will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building on Southwestern’s campus, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The cost, including lunch, is $120 for non-Southwestern Alumni seeking 7 hours of CLE credit; $90 for ABA Communications Law or Entertainment & Sports Industries Forum Members; $50 for Southwestern Alumni and faculty from other institutions seeking 7 hours of CLE credit. The conference is free for Southwestern faculty and students, but an RSVP is required. Information on registering for the event can be found online here. A map and directions to the campus, are available here.

Southwestern gratefully acknowledges the financial support of The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and Levine Sullivan Koch & Schultz, LLP.