FOI Oklahoma seeks nominations for First Amendment, freedom of information awards for 2014

Nominations are being accepted for FOI Oklahoma’s annual awards that recognize individuals and organizations that promoted the First Amendment and the free flow of information to the public in 2014. Those who opposed dissemination of public information are recognized with the organization’s Black Hole Award.

The awards will be presented during Sunshine Week activities on March 14 at the Norick Downtown Library in Oklahoma City.

The Ben Blackstock Award is presented to a non-governmental person or organization that has shown a commitment to freedom of information. The Sunshine Award goes to a public official or governmental body that has shown a commitment to open meetings and open records.

FOI Oklahoma also recognizes an Oklahoman who has promoted education about or protection of the individual rights guaranteed by the First Amendment with its Marian Opala First Amendment Award. The award is named for the late Oklahoma Supreme Court justice, a Polish immigrant who exemplified a belief in First Amendment rights.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 21.

Nominations must include a letter of no more than 250 words justifying why the person or organization is deserving of the award.

Nominations may be made via email to or mailed to FOI Awards, PO Box 5315, Edmond, OK 73083-5315.

Last year, the Sunshine Award was presented to state Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and the Ben Blackstock Award went to Joel Rabin and Sharon Hurst of Bartlesville.

Rita Geiger of Oklahoma City won the Opala First Amendment Award.

Gov. Mary Fallin was named recipient of the Black Hole recognition for the second straight year.

This is the eighth year for the awards.

FOI Oklahoma is a statewide not-for-profit founded 25 years ago to educate the public on the First Amendment and openness in government.