Freeze out: Politicians retaliate against the press using public notices


proposal to dump sewage sludge from Austin, Texas, onto ranchland miles away near the Colorado River may have gone unnoticed if not for a public notice printed in the local newspaper. Informed by the public notice of the permit application and outraged at the thought of having some of the 100,000 cubic yards of Austin’s “biosolids” dumped in their backyard, local residents protested, and the dumping company eventually withdrew its application.

Laws requiring public notices to be printed in local newspapers are powerful transparency tools. They’re also a critical source of funding for small newspapers battered by financial losses that are putting them out of business at an alarming rate. Despite these benefits, however, two disturbing trends threaten the public’s right to know.

Read more from the Freedom of the Press Foundation