The Right-To-Know-Agenda

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Almost two years ago, a coalition of conservative, libertarian and progressive groups (including Sunlight) began to collectively study government secrecy and ways to fix it. Shepherded by OMB Watch (and partially funded by Sunlight), the groups are calling on Congress and the incoming Obama Administration to embrace Web 2.0 tools and the access, accountability and transparency they promise.

Renewing Government: Recommendations to President-elect Obama and the 111th Congress, provides an exhaustive, nearly 100-page report titled “Moving Towards a 21st Century Right to Know Agenda: Recommendations to President-Elect Obama and Congress” (pdf). The report includes a list for the new administration on actions it should take in its first 100 days in office, such as President Obama clearly stating in inaugural address that he will oversee the “most open, honest, and accountable government ever” to improve our trust in our government. Other themes of the report include the need for government to employ easily-to-use technology, and that they should strive to create an environment of transparency throughout the agencies.

As Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, writes in the report’s forward, despite the differing views of the various organizations involved on the role of government and public policy, they all have one thing in common: “we all strongly believe in the public’s right to know.” He notes that hundreds of people have been involved developing the recommendations. “This project is a testament to the fact that government openness is neither a left or right issue,” he writes. “It is an American issue.”

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