Sunshine Week and Freedom of Information

sunshine week your right to know

The week of March 10-16, 2019 is Sunshine Week, sponsored by the American Society for News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.  The First Amendment establishes the freedom of the press without interference from government.  With the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, government entities became accountable to provide records pertaining to inform citizens’ understanding of the governmental processes and problems.  The FOIA, the Open Records Act, and the Open Meetings Act allow the public to access information which makes the government more transparent.  In Blackwell, we are fortunate that our City employees ensure that these rules are followed, we have a great staff at our local newspaper that provides in-depth coverage of the news pertaining to city government, and a library that will make sure that all of that information is available to you.

“Sunshine Week focuses attention on access to public information, open government and journalism’s role in promoting transparency. But what if there is no news outlet to shine the light? Over the past 15 years, newspaper closures and consolidations have left more than 1,400 cities across the U.S. without their main source of regular local news. What that loss means to the community and the ability to hold officials and government institutions accountable is the focus of this year’s Sunshine Week.”

“The American Society of News Editors launched the first national Sunshine Week in 2005 to coincide with the March 16 birthday of James Madison, father of the Constitution and a key advocate of the Bill of Rights. This year, ASNE, The Associated Press and Associated Press Media Editors mark the occasion with a package that examines a new and troubling trend across American journalism: the loss or diminishment of local news coverage. Sunshine Week begins this Sunday, March 10.”

Support your local news organizations and remember that they are working for you, to promote transparency in government, and ensure that the public is informed.

The library supports the City in providing truthful information to all citizens.  For more information about Sunshine Week, the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meeting Act of the Open Records Act, please visit the City 411 section of the library’s Research Department or check out our 24/7 Research Guides.