Public’s right to know being eroded, experts warn

What was billed as a celebratory kickoff sounded more like the somber briefing of an embattled and encircled force listing off perils of its situation. Such were the warnings given during the League of Women Voters and The News-Press Media Group’s Open Government and You public forum about the “erosion” of the public’s right to information. 

The event heralded the start of Sunshine Week in Florida as news organizations and open government groups use James Madison’s birthday as the rallying point of the public’s right to access government and public information through use of open records, open meetings and sunshine laws.

Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, said Madison was father of open government and quoted him, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Continue…