Sunshine Week celebrates your right to information



The press, over the years, has embraced its role as the Fourth Estate. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a free press, which means that it will not be run by the government, and professional journalists across the country have made careers out of serving as community watchdogs over what their government is doing. But beyond the protections offered by the First Amendment that say the government cannot control the media, we operate under the same rules and utilize the same tools as are available to any average citizen.

This week is Sunshine Week. Sunshine Sunday was launched in 2002 by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors after the state legislature that year tried to create scores of exemptions to the existing open government laws. Because of the increased publicity, most of those measures failed.

Today, the American Society of News Editors, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other organizations, along with help the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Bloomberg LP, continue to promote open government through Sunshine Week.