Brooks Fuller

Brooks Fuller

Director, North Carolina Open Government Coalition

One important function of the press is to hold government officials accountable for their actions. In North Carolina, this function is currently under threat, according to journalism professor Brooks Fuller. Ever since 2019, Fuller has served as the director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that teaches state residents about their rights to public records and meetings. Fuller, who teaches media ethics and original research methods at Elon University, holds degrees in both law and journalism, and has used both to great effect to stand up for free speech.

This year, Fuller has taken the North Carolina government to task for House Bill 259. Buried within the 625-page document is a stipulation that government officials can invoke legislative privilege “in all instances.” This allows North Carolina lawmakers to unilaterally refuse to share any document that they created or received during their tenure in office. Fuller has condemned the bill in no uncertain terms, calling it “a devastating blow to public access.” How the North Carolina government responds could have profound implications for free speech all across the country. Whatever the outcome, Brooks has already equipped a generation of students with the tools to hold their leaders accountable.

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