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Archive for March 15th, 2018

Sunshine Week 2018: Examining Open Government

March 11-17 2018 is Sunshine Week, the annual nationwide celebration highlighting the importance of freedom of information and government transparency. Sunshine Week has been recognized annually since 2005 by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. These organizations are joined by news media, government officials, academic institutions, libraries, and all people interested in open government. The broad goals are to empower the public to get involved in all levels of government, to boost public access to government information, and to use that access and information to strengthen communities and individuals.

Sunshine Week is a good time to check on our government officials’ efforts at supporting governmental transparency. According to AP News, the current administration has set a new record for censoring and withholding government information more often than at any other time over the last decade. The Associated Press analyzed data on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compliance, covering eight months under the current President. The analysis revealed that the federal government provided censored files or nothing at all in 78% of the 823,222 requests made during that time, and the government spent a record $40.6 million defending those decisions to censor and withhold.

For information on Ohio’s Sunshine Laws see:

Ohio Open Government Laws 

Ohio Attorney General: “Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual” (Yellow Book 2018) 

Ohio Coalition for Open Government