Thursday, March 08, 2012
Sunshine Week- a great idea still to hit our shores
It's that time of the year - well it is next week - when the US open government community, led and co-ordinated by the Association of Newspaper Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press demonstrate the importance of open transparent government through Sunshine Week publicity and events.
I've been lamenting for years the absence here of a Knight Foundation to fund the start up, and a formidable team with a shared interest, prepared each year to invest time and resources to help build public awareness of the importance of the right to know. For everyone, not just the media.
Three years ago, the coalition of media groups Australia's Right to Know organised a conference in Sydney on FOI reform, but hasn't repeated it. Or at any stage reached out to partners who might share an interest in open, participatory government. Despite the great name, ARTK's focus has been on media not citizen interests. And it's maintaining a very low profile - the last addition to published submissions on its website was in October 2009 and to the media releases list, in May 2010
By happenstance I'll be in Washington next week, attending a couple of events and renewing some contacts.
While the Queensland Information Commissioner has organised three Right to know days and the NSW Commissioner is talking about a Sydney event later this year, oh for a local equivalent of a group like these Sunshine Week partners:
American Library Association ♦ Association of Alternative Newsweeklies ♦ Association of American Editorial Cartoonists ♦ Center for Democracy & Technology ♦ Center for Public Integrity ♦ Center for Responsive Politics ♦ Collaboration on Government Secrecy ♦ Electronic Frontier Foundation ♦ First Amendment Center ♦ Investigative News Network ♦ League of Women Voters ♦ Media Law Resource Center ♦ National Association of Broadcasters ♦ National Conference of Editorial Writers ♦ National Freedom of Information Coalition ♦ National Newspaper Association ♦ National Press Club ♦ National Security Archive ♦ Newspaper Association of America ♦ OMB Watch ♦ Online News Association ♦ Openthegovernment.org ♦ Patch ♦ Project on Government Secrecy ♦ Project on Government Oversight ♦ Radio Television Digital News Association ♦ Society of Professional Journalists ♦ Student Press Law Center ♦ Sunlight Foundation ♦ Sunshine in Government Initiative