Friday, May 09, 2014

We could use a whole lot more sunshine

It’s hard to believe, but I missed Sunshine Week, which was March 16 – 22. You too? Never heard of Sunshine Week? Join the club. Sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sunshine Week was created to focus on the importance of open government with a variety of panels, workshops and other related events around the country. It’s a shame that this all happened with so little fanfare or media coverage since our country is now being overseen by the least transparent administration in its history. Perhaps there’s some connection there.

What’s so galling is that Obama the candidate promised he would preside over the most transparent administration in history. The reality is very different and it has gotten worse every year of his presidency. As an editorial in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise notes, “AP analysts found that more than one-third of the 704,394 requests for information from the government last year were denied.” Clearly, there is very little sunshine in the White House.

The editorial also notes that at the same time the government tries to keep more and more of its actions in the dark, it wants to know more and more about its citizens through mass surveillance activities. In addition, those who are courageous enough to shed a bit of sunlight on government activities are severely punished, discouraging others from doing the same.

We truly need Sunshine Week more than ever. How about a Sunshine Year?

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