Distributed April 25, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

Open Government Series

Journalist Robert Zelnick to speak on open government and privacy

Former ABC News correspondent Robert Zelnick will speak on “Open Government v. Privacy Concerns” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2001, in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green. This lecture is free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Emmy Award-winning journalist Robert Zelnick will tackle the timely issue of balancing the public’s right to know with the individual’s right to privacy when he speaks at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2001, in the Salomon Center for Teaching on The College Green.

Zelnick will discuss “Open Government v. Privacy Concerns: Can government be open and accountable in an era of increasing privacy concern?” as part of the Brown Open Government Series, sponsored by the Meiklejohn Lectureship Committee, the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and ACCESS/Rhode Island.

Government collects information to administer programs and enforce the law, but some of that information – names and addresses of crime victims or recipients of government assistance, for example – is personal. While the concept of open government suggests that information should be accessible for government accountability, advocates of privacy rights object to such disclosures. Zelnick will examine what happens when the right to know conflicts with the right to privacy and whether government can be open and accountable while respecting privacy rights.

As a prominent journalist, Zelnick spent 21 years with ABC News covering political and Congressional affairs for ABC Morning News, World News Tonight Saturday/Sunday and This Week, winning two Emmy Awards and two Gavel Awards for his work. He served as the ABC News Pentagon correspondent (1986–94), as ABC’s Tel Aviv correspondent (1984–86) and as its Moscow correspondent (1982–84). He is widely published in numerous magazines and scholarly journals and is the author of Backfire, A Reporter’s Look at Affirmative Action. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Virginia Law School, Zelnick is currently a visiting professor in Boston University’s Department of Journalism and is at work on a political biography of former Vice President Al Gore.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For further information, call (401) 863-2201.