Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Citizens demand more open government

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The tide has turned for the transparency movement. A unified voice in demand for more openness from the government has been displayed in a recent survey. The increase in citizens’ interest in the operations of their leaders is a clear sign that abuse of public office or governing in the dark, will not go unchecked. And now, with the existence of the Knight FOI Fund, media organizations will hopefully be encouraged to pursue accountability from government, especially when Freedom of Information is violated.

  • A survey conducted by the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) found that more citizens are demanding for government transparency. The study also revealed that due to a lack of resources, news organizations are less likely to file FOI lawsuits. Pia Christensen is not surprised by media’s reluctance to go after FOI violations. She is noting the significant increased in open records requests made by private citizens and other non-media organizations on Covering Health.
  • Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel started his first 100 days in office on a good note; with admirable efforts to open up the city’s data including lobbyists information, city building permits and the much publicized online posting of all city employee salaries. Blogger Ramsin Canon, is not sure that this is enough. In his “Transparency Ex Post and Ex Ant” he explains how the mayor’s creation of transparency actions without the involvement of the citizens defeats the function of government transparency — which is supposed to be to encourage public participation. Read more of his post on Mechanics
  • Provoked by a recent presentation by Bob Freeman from the New York Open Government Committee – on the state’s Open Meeting Law, Warren Gross is examining how open or otherwise the law is. He mentions a pending legislation introduced by Councilwoman Amy Paulin to strengthen the Open Meeting law but is skeptical because currently, the law is not even enforced by the State and it depends on the diligence of municipal bodies to comply with it. Check out his message on accountability to the community on Talk of the Sound.
  • When Kevin Dietrich’s co worker attended a hearing organized by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in Greenville, South Carolina, little did he know that he would not be allowed to record it. Eric Ward a blogger with The Nerve (South Carolina Policy Council’s official blog), was stopped from videotaping the hearing about lowering unemployment and bringing high-paying jobs in the state but was promised an edited version of the recording by the Committee’s staff. Dietrich is not happy about the censoring and he shares his frustrations on The Cotton Boll Conspiracy.

Photo credit: Chuck Olsen

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