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Monday, February 26, 2007

As we said last year "Let the sun shine in"

Media interest in, and support for better FOI laws is evidenced in the US through active participation in advocacy and public education about open government principles.

One of the flagship initiatives is Sunshine Week led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. This year it's from 11-17 March and includes activities, and a lot of media stories about Freedom of Information and associated issues.

This year's honorary chairs are Ben Bradlee of Washington Post fame, Tom Brokaw the former anchor of NBC nightly news, and Judy Woodruff who you see regularly on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (5 p.m. SBS TV).

Support from these media heavyweights and a year round organisational effort, means that Sushine Week and the principles it supports, get noticed right across the media chain.

The Week is funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation (started by the founders of what is now the Knight Ridder group of newspapers). The Foundation itself was funded by money left by members of the Knight family for initiatives to "seed and inspire great journalism everywhere, and to build strong communities in the cities and towns" where it ran newspapers.

Two legacies left by members of the Knight family totalled over $600million.

Any takers here?

I've previously lamented the fact that the Australian media to date (the Australian Press Council and other umbrella groups in particular) haven't recognised the value of combined effort to get open government on the agenda in this country.

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