Sunshine Week 2017

The New England First Amendment Coalition joined open government advocates throughout the country to celebrate this 12th annual Sunshine Week.

Sunshine Week, from March 12-18, 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 sponsored events and published daily blog posts to address transparency issues in each New England state. The coalition also temporarily changed its familiar blue logo to a sun in honor of the public awareness campaign.

NEFAC and the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications hosted a panel discussion titled “The Right to Know in New Hampshire in Theory and Practice” at 7 p.m. on March 13 at the Loeb School, 749 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manchester, N.H.

On March 16, NEFAC, and The Telegraph of Nashua presented an open forum on the New Hampshire Right to Know Law at 6 p.m. at the Hunt Memorial Building, 6 Main Street in Nashua, N.H.

As it does every Sunshine Week, NEFAC posted FOI reports from throughout the region. These reports were written by some of the area’s leading advocates for open government and collectively provided a sense of the progress being made — and the challenges that still exist — throughout all six New England states.

Let the Sun Shine In
Jim Condos | State of Vermont

Fallout from 38 Studios and the State of Open Government in Rhode Island
Linda Levin | Access/RI

Freedom Isn’t Free and Neither is Open Government in New Hampshire
David Saad | Right to Know New Hampshire

Will Vermont Finally Get Serious About Legislative and Executive Oversight?
Lia Ernst | NEFAC, ACLU of Vermont

Helping to Keep the Sun Shining in Maine
Jim Campbell | Maine Freedom of Information Coalition

Striving for Freedom of Information in Connecticut
Daniel Klau | NEFAC, Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

This Sunshine Week, New Hope for Massachusetts’ Transparency — With Caveats
Michael Morisy | MuckRock

“Confronted by a presidential administration that regularly attacks the news media and labels the Fourth Estate an ‘enemy of the American people,’ Sunshine Week has special significance this year,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director.

He noted that the Sunshine Week campaign follows NEFAC’s recent New England First Amendment Awards luncheon that honored those fighting for press freedoms and government transparency. Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan, recipient of this year’s Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, said during the luncheon that:

“Journalism’s role is more important than ever as we try to make sense of what’s happening for our viewers and readers. I’m more convinced every day that most Americans know very well that just as the First Amendment protects us, we must return the framers great favor and protect it. We do that by insisting on the truth, seeking it relentlessly and standing up for those who provide it.”

“The truth is often obtained through public documents and open meetings,” Silverman said. “These are essential portals into the work of our government and tools through which we can keep our leaders accountable. As Justice Brandeis famously said, sunlight is the best of disinfectants.”

“The Right to Know in New Hampshire in Theory and Practice”
Sponsored by NEFAC and the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications

Press Coverage

Celebrating Your Right To Know at Nashua Gathering | 3.17.17

Your Right to Know: Keeping NH Government Open | Union Leader 3.12.17

Panel to discuss Right-to-Know law at Loeb School | Union Leader 2.20.17