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Sunshine Week

Foilies 2022: Recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency

Each year during Sunshine Week (March 13-19), the Foilies serve up tongue-in-cheek "awards" for government agencies and assorted institutions that stand in the way of access to information. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock combine forces to collect horror stories about Freedom of Information Act and state-level public records requests across the U.S.... Read more»

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Guest opinion: Sunshine Week

Federal court records should be free & easy to access. We're working on it.

Court records, unlike other federal government records, are locked behind a paywall. It’ll cost you 10 cents per page to read them online — or even just to view your search results. With a $5 million cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation, our team is creating an Open Knowledge Network called SCALES to increase transparency around court records. ... Read more»

Guest opinion: Sunshine Week

Open government much better government

Open government is good government or, at the very least, it is better government. Nefarious deeds happen in the dark, behind closed doors.... Read more»

Guest opinion: Sunshine Week

You can’t have democracy without a free press

There’s a reason we need a free press, despite its faults and foibles: Democracy won’t work without it. The grand experiment in self-governance that is the United States is rooted in trust and confidence we all will work toward the greater good. But the nation’s founders had experience with a king and his expected benevolence — and what could happen when things didn’t work out.... Read more»

Sunshine Week

Governors evade open gov't laws to keep records from public

In most states, sunshine laws give the public insight into the governor's decisions. Since last year, governors across the country have provided thousands of pages of emails in response to requests filed by The Associated Press, revealing how some pushed economic interests ahead of public health guidance as they battled the pandemic.... Read more»

Sunshine Week

Governments delay access to public records during pandemic

As states prepared to reopen their economies following coronavirus shutdowns last spring, the Associated Press asked governors across the U.S. for records that could shed light on how businesses and health officials influenced their decisions. Nine months later, after several more COVID-19 surges and shutdowns, the AP still has not received records from about 20 states.... Read more»

Sunshine Week

Pandemic redefines 'public' access to government meetings

A year after COVID-19 triggered government shutdowns and crowd limitations, more public bodies than ever are livestreaming their meetings for anyone to watch from a computer, television or smartphone. But in some cases, it's become harder for people to actually talk with their elected officials.... Read more»

The Foilies 2021: Recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency

Since 2015, The Foilies have served as an annual opportunity to name-and-shame the uncoolest government agencies and officials who have stood in the way of public access. ... Read more»

Sunshine Week

Media groups push back after 'fake news' defined U.S. elections

One of the lessons of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is that many Americans could not distinguish between actual news stories and fabrications, leading to an environment in which damaging hoaxes spread across social media networks... Read more»

Sunshine Week

Advocates say First Amendment can withstand Trump attacks

As journalism marks its annual Sunshine Week, free speech advocates called the Trump administration the most hostile to the press in memory. They listed a wide range of potential dangers, from legal action to encouraging distrust and even violence. At the same time, advocates say that the media, at least on legal issues, is well positioned to withstand Trump and that the First Amendment is stronger than ever.... Read more»

Analysis: Sunshine Week

Why freedom of information faces problems, and how experts say those can be solved

From the UA's David Cuillier and ASU's Eric Newton: People must be able to get facts from their government to make smart decisions and hold public officials accountable. Politicians from both parties agreed on this long ago when they first passed federal, state and local open government laws. But the things people build — be they bridges, roads or freedom of information laws — wear out without regular maintenance. That’s why Sunshine Week exists, to remind us that it takes effort to keep freedom working.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

Will the First Amendment survive the information age?

This is Sunshine Week in the U.S., when news organizations spotlight the public’s right to know and size up government openness and access to public records. This year, we should add a more sweeping question to the list: How will the First Amendment survive the dramatic changes in information technology? Complicated disputes are popping up in both predicable and surprising places.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

Republicans & Democrats ask Obama: Why haven’t you signed this transparency order?

Ten billion dollars. That’s what some experts predict the 2016 election will cost (at least financially). This Sunshine Week, as news organizations and advocates reflect on the progress we’ve made on transparency and right-to-know reforms, it is critical to urge President Obama to sign an executive order that would shine a light on one tranche of money in politics.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

True disclosure demands full accountability

With its Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court clearly articulated the value of disclosure and transparency to the health of our democracy. After all, transparency is the best disinfectant, to paraphrase Justice Louis Brandeis’ famous quote. Sadly, the type of transparency and disclosure envisioned by the justices doesn’t exist.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

World passing U.S. by in strength of FOI laws

Sunshine Week has helped foster government transparency in the United States during the past 10 years, but while we have focused inward at state and federal transparency the world has passed us by.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

Despite official stonewalling, reporters let sun shine on gov't

It’s getting harder and more expensive to use public records to hold government officials accountable. Authorities are undermining the laws that are supposed to guarantee citizens’ right to information, turning the right to know into just plain “no.” And that is why it is vital that we all fight every attempt — from federal foot-dragging to outrageous photocopying bills — to hide the public’s information behind a big, padlocked door. We need to let the sun shine in.... Read more»

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