Sunshine Week, www.sunshineweek.org, is a non-partisan open government initiative led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, with online and broadcast media, public officials, celebrities, civic groups, non-profits, libraries, schools, religious leaders and others. It is endowed through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, www.knightfoundation.org, which invests in journalism excellence worldwide and the vitality of the 26 communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. It focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change.
Sunshine Week 2010, March 14-20
Statement from the President on Sunshine Week
As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever, an effort that will strengthen our democracy and ensure the public’s trust in their government. We came to Washington to change the way business was done, and part of that was making ourselves accountable to the American people by opening up our government. We’ve put our White House visitor records on the Internet for the first time in history; opened up more government information than ever before on Data.gov, Recovery.gov and USAspending.gov; and issued an Executive Order fighting unnecessary secrecy, to name a few.
We are proud of these accomplishments, but our work is not done. We will continue to work toward an unmatched level of transparency, participation and accountability across the entire Administration.
The Associated Press is a Staunch Supporter of Free Press, FOI and Media Access.
AP coverage has included the state of government transparency a year into President Obama’s presidency. AP’s Sharon Theimer reports on Obama’s unsuccessful Directive to stop the frequent use of the “deliberative process” exemption of the Freedom of Information Act by government agencies. “Major agencies cited the exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual reports filed by federal agencies. Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period.
The following is a snippet from First Amendment Center:
“During Sunshine Week, which runs through March 20, many newspapers, broadcast outlets, Internet operations and other media will be reporting on government attempts to block the public’s right to know — and the steps taken to counter those moves.
“At the same time, civic, academic and other non-media groups will be discussing their interest in making sure that access to government records is protected.
“Each year, Sunshine Week takes place around James Madison’s birthday (March 16) and National FOI Day. Participants include journalists, schools, librarians, nonprofits and members of the public. Organizations hosting events for Sunshine Week include the First Amendment Center, OpentheGovernment.org and American University Washington College of Law.
“Among the events scheduled for this week:
- The First Amendment Center will host the 12th annual National FOI Day Conference, “What has become of Freedom of Information?” tomorrow at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The conference will feature a session with Miriam Nesbit, director of the Office of Government Information, and Norm Eisen, special counsel to President Obama for Ethics and Government Reform. In addition, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, will be the keynote speaker.”
This is an excerpt, courtesy of OMB Watch Organization, on Sunshine Week 2010 Activities
and Progress which can be read in its entirety at OMB Watch: Promoting Open
Government, Accountability, and Citizen Participation Since 1983.
Several open government events occurred throughout the week and focused on federal transparency.
- The Freedom Forum kicked off Sunshine Week with its 12th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference, which explored the status of freedom of information with speakers from the administration as well as Congress.
- The OpenTheGovernment.org coalition hosted its annual Sunshine Week webcast featuring three panels on embedding transparency into government, improving the ability of citizens to request information through FOIA, and using government data in innovative ways.
- The Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University’s Washington School of Law held a one-day conference covering a wide array of government transparency issues.
- The Sunlight Foundation launched a transparency campaign around the principle that public records should be posted online.
Sunshine Week 2009, March 15-21
The Public Still Views the Federal Govt. as Secretive;
High Marks for President’s Freedom Of Information Orders
Sunshine Week 2008, March 16-22
AP President and CEO Tom Curley to Speak on FOI During Sunshine Week Dinner at the National Press Club
Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley will address Freedom of Information and other open government issues during a Sunshine Week dinner event March 18 at The National Press Club. The dinner is being jointly presented by Sunshine Week and the Eric Friedheim National Journalism Library.
The speech will update Curley’s 2004 Hays-Enterprise Lecture, which many view as a defining moment in moving forward the myriad efforts ongoing now to preserve and protect access to information. “The government is pushing hard for secrecy,” he said in the Hays speech. “We must push back equally hard for openness.” Curley’s 2008 speech will look ahead to priorities in the new administration.
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Sunshine Week 2008: The Sunshine Campaign has joined Project Vote Smart‘s 20,000 mile Purple Bus Tour that is bringing the Voter’s Self Defense System to people around the country. Sixteen years in the making, the Voter’s Self Defense System provides online access to information on more than 40,000 candidates at all levels of government. The nationwide tour brings a bus specially equipped with a movie theater and computer terminals with free Web access to demonstrate the system.
Check back here often for more on Sunshine Week 2008.
Donated by Jim Siergey for Sunshine Week 2008
Donated by Steve Greenberg for Sunshine Week 2008
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