Debate: Is American government too open?

Alasdair Roberts's picture

It’s been 50 years since the U.S. Congress adopted the Freedom of Information Act, which provides access to documents held by federal agencies. Since 1966, Congress has adopted many other laws designed to promote openness. But has the United States gone too far, undermining the capacity of public officials to solve our major problems?


The Truman School of Public Affairs and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri have organized a debate on the question: Is US government too open?  Background commentaries are now available, and a live debate will be webcast on March 15.


Bruce Cain of Stanford University argues that US government is now too open.  Read his commentary here:


Charles Lewis of American University says that US government is not too open.  Read his commentary here:


The in-person debate will be webcast at 7PM CST on Tuesday March 15.  Watch the webcast here:


The webcast will be recorded so that instructors can use it for teaching purposes.  Free access to the commentaries will be available until May 30.




Alasdair Roberts

Professor of Public Affairs

Professor (by courtesy) of Law

Adjunct Professor of Political Science


Truman School of Public Affairs

University of Missouri

121 Middlebush Hall,

Columbia, MO 65211