Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Let The Sunshine In

In case you forgot to mark your calendars, we're in the midst of Sunshine Week. No, it's not a paean to the coming of spring, but a battle by top journalism organizations to stem the tide of government secrecy.
It's a movement all the more important as the White House and Bush administration chant a collective mantra of "no" or an indefinite "maybe, maybe not" to many a Freedom of Information Act request. Governments on the state and local levels have taken that as an open invitation to end accountability as we know it.
And though there have been some troubling surveys where an alarming percentage of people believe the press has run amok and that maybe some aspects of the First Amendment weren't such a good idea after all, a poll conducted for Sunshine Week found many people are still concerned when the government willfully clams up.
Though the week runs through Mar. 19, the Web site serves as a good year-round clearinghouse for open-government info and how the media is fighting back against officials who choose to duck and cover. Sadly, there is no shortage of material.
One example of why this week is sorely needed is highlighted by a bunch of articles in the Mar. 15 Journal News, which serves New York City's northern suburbs. Reporters fanned out to show how lame FOI compliance can be.

No comments: