The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

March 10, 2013

Celebrate 'Sunshine Week' March 10-16

— The Alabama Press Association is informing Alabamians that March 10-16 is Sunshine Week.

Launched in 2005, Sunshine Week has grown into an enduring annual initiative to promote open government and push back against excessive official secrecy.

Citizens from across the country are now gearing up to once again spark a nationwide discussion about the critical importance of access to public information.

You can help make Sunshine Week burn even brighter in 2013. There are endless ways to participate, regardless of whether you’re part of a group or simply an individual who cares about freedom of information.

• If you are in the world of journalism, you can highlight the importance of openness through stories, editorials, columns, cartoons or graphics.

• If you are part of a civic group, you can organize local forums, sponsor essay contests or press elected officials to pass proclamations on the importance of open access.

• If you are an educator, you can use Sunshine Week to teach your students about how government transparency improves our lives and makes our communities stronger.

• If you are an elected official, you can pass a resolution supporting openness, introduce legislation improving public access or encourage training of government employees to ensure compliance with existing laws mandating open records and meetings.

• If you are a private citizen, you can write a letter to the editor or spread the word to friends through social media.

Sunshine Week was created by the American Society of News Editors and is now coordinated in partnership with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, but freedom of information isn’t just a press issue. It is a cornerstone of democracy, enlightening and empowering people to play an active role in their government at all levels. It helps keep public officials honest, makes government more efficient and provides a check against abuse of power.

Make a difference in the continuing battle against unnecessary government secrecy.

For more information, visit http://sunshineweek.rcfp.org.

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