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New freedom of information award announced

A new annual award recognizing those who work toward transparency in government was announced by the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government this week, named in honor of Mitchell W. Pearlman, the founding director of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission.

The Mitchell W. Pearlman Freedom of Information Award will be given to Connecticut residents, members of the press and government officials whose efforts promote transparency in government, make important information available to the public and ensure that residents of the state can know what their elected officials are doing, and respond to their actions and inactions.

Pearlman, who lives in Glastonbury with his wife Susan, served as the state Freedom of Information Commission's first executive director for 30 years and is now a lecturer in the Journalism Department at the University of Connecticut.

"If government is to be by and for the people, then the people have to be able to see and hear it, and take part in it should they choose, in the most informed manner possible," said Pearlman in a statement released by the foundation. "I've been lucky to work with great professionals and courageous public officials who have believed that a democracy cannot work unless government is open for all to access."

After consulting with officials across the globe throughout his career, Pearlman is internationally recognized as an expert on freedom of the press, information policy, privacy, data protection, government transparency and administrative law, the foundation said.

"No one has done more to ensure the people's right to know in Connecticut and, perhaps around the world than Mitch has," said William S. Fish Jr., president of the foundation. "He has been a stalwart public official, often in the face of powerful forces that wanted to keep the public's business a secret. He has been a teacher, a mentor and an inspiration. No one deserves to have a freedom of information award named after him more than Mitch."

The award will be bestowed annually beginning in the fall of 2022, when one or more winners will be selected by a committee formed by the foundation. Nominations will be accepted next spring and summer.

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