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Subject: American Library Association will provide the opportunity for education and community discussion of Freedom of Information issues on the local level... Does your favorite city public library censor its very own archival public records of itself as a public institution?
From: Don Saklad <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 17 Jan 2005 09:17:39 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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   Sunshine Sunday to kick off weeklong, multimedia open government
   campaign
   http://www.sunshineweek.org/

     WASHINGTON --
   Opening a dialogue about the public's right of access to government
   information is the focus of Sunshine Sunday and Sunshine Week:

   Your Right to Know, which kick off March 13, 2005, and continue
   through the following week.


     Participating daily and weekly newspapers,
   magazines,
   online sites, and
   radio and television broadcasters will feature
   editorials,
   op-eds,
   editorial cartoons, and
   news and feature stories
   that drive public discussion about why open government is important
   to everyone, not just to journalists.


     "A better climate for keeping government as open as possible has
      to begin with improving public understanding and support for
      freedom of information," said Associated Press President and CEO
   Tom Curley, a member of the Sunshine Week steering committee.

   "This project marks a great new start in promoting public awareness
    of these issues."


     The current initiative, spearheaded by the American Society of
   Newspaper Editors with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight
   Foundation in Miami, expands the Sunshine Sunday efforts nationally
   and across media.

   The Radio Television News Directors Association also has received a
   Knight grant to help broadcasters to participate.


     Other journalism groups and media companies also support the
   project, and several state press associations are coordinating
   existing Sunshine Sunday programs with the national effort.

   The 54-member Steering Committee includes leaders from media
   companies, newspapers, magazines, academia and major journalism
   organizations.


     "This is not just an issue for the press.

      It's an issue for the public," said Andy Alexander,
   ASNE Freedom Of Information chair, who is chief of the
   Cox Newspapers' Washington bureau.

   "An alarming amount of public information is being kept secret from
    citizens and the problem is increasing by the month.

   Not only do citizens have a right to know, they have a need to
   know.


     "Our goal is the raise public awareness of this horrible trend
      that is hurting democracy," he said of the Sunshine Week
   project.

   "We hope that it sparks a public dialogue about the value of open
    government and the damage to citizens from excessive government
    secrecy."


     In addition to media efforts, a partnership with the
   American Library Association will provide the opportunity for
   education and community discussion of Freedom of Information issues
   on the local level.

   Sunshine Week also ties in with the Freedom Forum First Amendment
   Center's 2005 FOI Day on March 16, 2005 in Arlington, Va.


     The Sunshine Week Web site http://www.sunshineweek.org
   to be launched in early 2005, will be the clearinghouse for most of
   the materials, which are expected to include:

     * A variety of op-eds and articles for use by print
       and online media

     * Story ideas for print and broadcast news outlets

     * Video news packages for television broadcasters

     * Stories of citizens using FOI laws to
       get information to help their communities

     * Information for libraries
       setting up community FOI programs

     * Links to online FOI information and resources.


     Sunshine Sunday began in Florida in 2002.

   Led by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the event
   generated editorials, op-eds, editorial cartoons and news stories
   about the importance of open government.

   FSNE estimates that some 300 exemptions to open government laws
   were defeated in the legislative sessions that followed the three
   Sunshine Sundays, many because of the increased public awareness
   that resulted.

   Since then, several other states, including Alabama and
   South Carolina have launched similar initiatives.

   Contact:
   Debra Gersh Hernandez,
   Sunshine Week Coordinator, at [log in to unmask]
http://www.sunshineweek.org/

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