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Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunshine Week sets a shining example.

Next week 15-21 March is Sunshine Week in the US- a media initiated annual national campaign designed to heighten public awareness of the importance of open government.This year one feature will be a report on surveys of the information states make available on the web, undertaken in association with the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Freedom of Information Committee, the National Freedom of Information Coalition, and the Society of Professional Journalists' FOI Committee.

The toolkit of terrific resources available free for use by media across the US includes opinion columns, editorial cartoons, informational graphics and public service ads for print and broadcast.

US media owners, publishers and journalists do a great job to build and maintain a constituency for open transparent government, in everyone's interests, by investing in initiatives to improve public understanding of the importance of these issues.This long-term highly professional effort to alert the public to their stake in all this is something the Australian media coalition, Australia's Right to Know, together with like-minded partners, should seek to emulate.
The coalition will break new ground by holding a Free Speech Conference in Sydney on 24 March.It's a welcome development, but have a look at Sunshine Week's Calendar of Events and the range of activities and organisations involved- not a one-off either, but part of an ongoing investment of time, money and other resources, deemed worthwhile by the many participants, even in tough financial times.

You'll see some examples of the US materials accompany posts here next week.

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