Transparency Is Trending

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This week is Sunshine Week, a lot of people are very excited and are taking the time to write about why open government is important to them.  Here are just a few of the great posts people are writing, explaining why transparency is important.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote an editorial about the need for government transparency:

“…some federal agencies require citizens to travel to Washington or to regional offices to examine files. Sometimes, these files are available for review only on old, slow computers and only during standard business hours. Such hoops diminish the usefulness of the information to the very citizens in whose name — and on whose dime — it was collected.

In the news business, we know all too well that this frequently is not the case. It is why this newspaper has repeatedly pushed government officials to open their meetings and, even in an era of tight budgets, has not flinched from going to court when our requests are denied. When we do so, we act not just for ourselves, but for every other news organization or individual with a right to know. The fundamental importance of that right is why our industry, along with allies such as the Sunlight Foundation, observes Sunshine Week beginning today. Our nation’s founders understood the importance of openness. Having experienced a very different reality as colonists, they knew that closed doors invite suspicion and tyranny. And so they enshrined principles such as freedom of the press and public court proceedings in the Bill of Rights.

A government based on the consent of the governed must open its doors to them — to you. It was true in 1789. It still is today.”

The Asheville Citizen-Times has an article addressing how transparency alters a political debate:

“When people get bad information, they will make bad decisions. When they get real information, it’s a whole new ballgame. And when election time rolls around, they might start throwing a few beanballs themselves. All I can add to that is … Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.”

The Kansas Watchdog has an article about Sunshine Week:

“Open government isn’t the work of any one organization or of government alone. The Sunlight Foundation illustrates the point with the Transparency Cycle which illustrates the process of creating a government ‘more deserving of our trust, and ultimately, a government that allows its citizens to fully participate and hold government accountable as our Founders intended.'”

NM Politics. Net has a post about “Giving thanks for an open, accountable government”:

“Even better, we’re doing something about it. ‘Transparency’ is the new buzzword across public agencies and in nonprofit and business sectors. Political candidates jockey to be the most open, pro-sunshine contender. And in the Roundhouse and in city and county chambers throughout New Mexico, policymakers are embracing modern mechanisms for getting information to the people.”

The Kansas Wichita Eagle has a great post on why Sunshine Week Matters:

“It’s about making sure the public has access to information that affects lives and communities.”

The Depot Dazed wrote about how people can make open government a reality:

“ ‘Sunshine’ may make it possible, but it is only YOU, the people who can make open government a reality.”

This week Sunlight will be keeping track of posts like this from all over the Web. You don’t need a newspaper to take part in the conversation about how to make government more open and transparent.

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