I’ve failed to live up to my potential this week. I’ve wasted a lot of time on stories about useless video cameras, home theater, whining about my kitchen remodeling, and lamenting some lost stories when I should have been paying attention to SXSW, ETech, copyright issues, and Sunshine Week. Please accept my Johnny-come-lately mea culpa on all of that.
Sunshine Week is intended to bring public attention to concerns about goverment secrecy.
Peter Bhatia, executive editor of The Oregonian in Portland and former president of American Society of Newspaper Editors explains:
…Never has freedom of information been under greater siege. The open hostility to FOI flows from Washington and the Department of Justice. The actions in our nation’s capital are mimicked more and more on a state and local level. It is our fundamental responsibility as journalists to be agents for the public on these matters and to fight every day to keep access open and information flowing. It has never been more necessary than it is today.
To help make the point, the University of Florida Ad Department put together these Sunshine Week PSAs (including the image above, right). A piece of the ad copy to one of the four reads:
Freedom of information is a powerful weapon in a democracy. The right to know means we have access to the records of government, a fundamental right to find out what our government is doing, so we can take aim at abuse.