FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 | email@example.com
Sunshine Week, from March 11-17, is a national campaign to promote dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
NEFAC will sponsor events and publish blog posts to address transparency issues in each New England state. The coalition will also temporarily change its familiar blue logo to a sun in honor of the public awareness campaign.
Sunshine Week “is an opportunity to assess local freedom of information laws,” wrote Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director, in an op/ed appearing today in Gatehouse Media newspapers.
“These laws intend to shine a light, or ‘sunshine,’ on the work of government and to help citizens better understand what their elected officials are doing on their behalf,” he said.
In today’s op/ed, Silverman discussed flaws in the Massachusetts public records law, writing that “there is still too much secrecy in the Commonwealth.”
They will present another program on New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 15 at Littleton Regional Healthcare in Littleton, N.H. The Littleton event is also sponsored by InDepthNH.org.
As it does every Sunshine Week, NEFAC will post FOI reports from throughout the region. These reports will be written by some of the area’s leading advocates for open government and collectively provide a sense of the progress being made — and the challenges that still exist — throughout all six New England states and, more generally, throughout the country.
The Sunshine Week campaign follows NEFAC’s recent New England First Amendment Awards luncheon that honored those fighting for press freedoms and government transparency.
Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, recipient of this year’s Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, cautioned against spreading misinformation and — in line with the spirit of Sunshine Week — focus instead on facts, investigative journalism and accurate information about government.
“Falsehoods uttered by politicians are of course nothing new, but what is new is that there’s now the amplification of these lies by new forms of social media,” Mayer said. “When honest, evidence-based truth or those who tell it are attacked, I hope that all of you too will jump into the fray, speak up, defend the First Amendment, have each other’s backs.”
NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.
Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.
Major Supporters of NEFAC include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, The Boston Globe, WBUR and Boston University.