Exemptions to Ohio Open Records Act worry some transparency advocates

From OhioWatchdog.org

The Ohio state legislature has whittled down the reach of the state’s Open Records Act through the addition of 32 exemptions over the years, but open-government advocates still say the law’s underlying structure is sound and worth protecting.

“We’re up to exemption (ff),” Bill Reader, an associate professor of journalism at Ohio University, told Watchdog.org. “We’ve run out of single digits to categorize them all.”

The trend in Ohio has been against transparency due to growing anti-media sentiments, said Reader, who describes the Open Records Act as a self-help law, meaning that the person seeking the information from a public agency has the burden to argue for its release.

“Our Supreme Court does not have a very good track record on transparency on these issues,” he said.

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