SW@10: Freeman

sw13-oped-freeman60x80Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director, New York State Department of State, Committee on Open Government, Albany:

“I was fortunate to attend the meeting in Washington where ‘Sunshine Sunday’ was born. Why Sunday? At the time, the hope was that perhaps two-or-three hundred news organizations would prepare commentary regarding the need for and value of FOI laws.

“We were more than pleased to learn that more than a thousand organizations participated, and that many prepared a series of articles, commentaries and ‘how-to’ entries over the course of what became known as ‘Sunshine Week.’

“In New York, dozens of news organizations have recognized Sunshine Week, and the result is that legislation strengthening our FOI and Open Meetings Laws has been enacted in several instances since the first Sunshine Week.

“The reality is that shining a light on the issues, the problems and the means of correcting them has precluded state legislators from hiding, from saying, ‘We didn’t know there was a problem.’

“In short, Sunshine Week has created a focus and an opportunity to promote open and accountable government.”

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