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From the Citizen Media Law Project...

It’s March and it’s Sunshine Week. This year, from March 16 - 22, the American Society of Newspaper Editors is holding its annual national initiative to raise public consciousness on the need for open government. It’s March and it’s Sunshine Week. This year, from March 16 - 22, the American Society of Newspaper Editors is holding its annual national initiative to raise public consciousness on the need for open government. The name “Sunshine Week” is derived from the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s admonition that “[s]unlight is the best disinfectant,” describing his belief that an open government is more accountable to its people and thus less easily corrupted. As I write this post, various participants in the media community are similarly calling attention to the public’s right to know what their government is doing and why in order to improve their lives and better inform their communities. (See the Student Press Law Center, the Massachusetts Newspapers Publishers Association, and the Society for Professional Journalists for examples.)

Using freedom of information laws is a simple, and potentially powerful, way of obtaining information about the activities of federal, state and many local governments. You don't need to hire a lawyer, and no complicated forms are involved—requests can be made in a simple letter. And you don't need to be a journalist to share what you find with others who are interested in these issues; with nothing more than an Internet connection, you can post the information and making it available to anyone in the world.

Continued...

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