The Arizona equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act is an important resource for the media and the public to ensure transparency in state and local government. Want to know what your legislator, mayor or bureaucrat is up to? Ask for his or her email or correspondence. Government in Arizona is open and government agents are required to disclose their activities, no matter how "confidential."
Of course, with rights go responsibility. For example, if you request information you have to indicate that you aren't using it for corporate purposes. The media ferociously guard their right to government information and policy makers assume that the media will use the law responsibly.
That's why I was shocked to hear a report that the Tribune had abused the Arizona's Public Records law to seek confidential information about...one of its own reporters.
The Tribune issued a public records request to the town of Gilbert to force the town to disclose who had applied to be the town's Public Information Officer. We all know who applies for PIO jobs...reporters. Sources tell me that when the paper learned that one of its reporters had applied, she was immediately transfered to a different department.
That's as low as it gets folks. I wonder if the Tribune staffer checked the "not for corporate use" box when he filled out the request form. The information they sought was obviously for business purposes, not for public purposes.
Maybe that law needs to be tweaked.