You have a right to know
Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE
It’s Sunshine Week, and journalists, media groups and citizens are working to highlight the public records laws meant to protect the people’s right to know what their government is doing.
Sunshine Week’s history can be traced to an effort in 2002 by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors to stop the Florida legislature from creating a large number of exemptions to the state’s public records law. Eventually, the American Society of News Editors Freedom of Information Committee began Sunshine Week in March 2005. It is celebrated each year in mid-March along with National Freedom of Information Day.
The ASNE wants people to participate in Sunshine Week by talking about the importance of open government. Yearbook staffers could do this as a class discussion, with an article in your school newspaper or a letter to the editor in your local newspaper.
According to the Sunshine Week website, awareness about citizens’ right to know has increased. More Americans now know the kinds of information they have a right to see, where and how to get it and what to do if someone tries to block it.