University of Pittsburgh
January 11, 2006

Pitt Schools Cohost "Government Secrecy in the Information Age" Jan. 19

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-In a time when terror threats provoke potentially counter-productive measures that impede openness, the need for a thorough and dispassionate discussion of openness in democratic societies is paramount. Alasdair Roberts, an international authority on transparency in government, will examine this issue in a presentation, titled "Government Secrecy in the Information Age" Thursday, Jan. 19, 4:30-6 p.m., in the Bigelow Room, Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Information Sciences. A reception will follow.

Roberts contends that the "right to know" has been used over the years to challenge overreaching Presidents and secretive government agencies.Yet, despite these global efforts to foster openness in government, secrecy still persists, and in many cases thrives. Beyond simply lamenting bureaucratic behavior, Roberts will examine the evolution of governmental openness, especially as it relates to technological innovation. He will draw on various countries' experiences to discuss how privatization, globalization, and networking of security agencies are complicating the fight against secrecy. In the process, he will offer a comprehensive look at the global efforts to restrict secrecy and will provide a guide to those areas in which the battle over secrecy is most intense.

Roberts is an associate professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and is director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University. He has written more than 30 journal articles and book chapters and is the recipient of the Johnson Institute's Best Paper in Ethics and Accountability. In addition, he has been a fellow of the Open Society Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, and is a member of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue's Transparency Task Force. He is the author of Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

This event is free and open (of course!) to the public. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served. Register at For further information, visit or contact or 412-648-1336.