Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mark your calendars for Sunshine Week 2017

This may be the most important Sunshine Week ever! Mark your calendars for March 12-18, 2017.
Begging her forgiveness, I'm going to share what my fellow Marsha had to say. Marsha Shuler is the co-director of the National Federation of Press Women's First Amendment Network and is also a former NFPW president.

I couldn't summarize  the history and meaning of Sunshine Week any better myself, so I'm letting our expert do the "talking" (thank you Marsha!):

It's time to observe "Sunshine Week."

March 12-18 is the annual national celebration of access to public information sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Knowledge is power and access to public records is critical to the democracy we so cherish.

So it is during this week the NFPW leadership team encourages members to do their part in stressing the importance of government openness and accountability through opinion columns, letters to the editor, staging events such as panel discussions and workshops about the latest developments in freedom of information resources and what threats exist today to public access to information important to people's lives and their communities.

The week coincides with the March 16 birthday of U.S. President James Madison, an architect of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights who championed the First Amendment.

Madison said: “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

Marsha also sent me this item about another important event:

April has a notable day as well as April 2 is International Fact-Checking Day. International Fact-Checking Day is coordinated by the International Fact-Checking Network in partnership with fact-checking organizations around the world. The International Fact-Checking Network, launched in September 2015 is a forum for fact-checkers worldwide hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. It has some suggestions for activities - among them a "factcheckathon" exhorting readers to flag fake stories on Facebook and a "hoax off" among top debunked claims.