Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 18, 2008
National Sunshine Week (March 16 to March 22, 2008) organized by the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Newspaper Editors recognizes that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), originated more than 40 years ago, still affirms that our government is the people's government," says Catherine A. Gniewek, Michigan Sunshine Chair and president of MichiganToday.net. "In conjunction with National Sunshine Week, the new Michigan Sunshine Coalition (MSC) is proudly announced. By working together as an unified alliance of dedicated individuals and organizations, MSC will advance improvements in accessibility and promote public awareness of FOIA issues in Michigan," says Gniewek.
Americans believe in a balanced system of decision-making. The democratic process is founded upon the rights of citizens to question and hold their elected officials accountable for their actions. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Clouding the Truth
Recent research by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government reflects the widening erosion of accessibility to information: "The government's overall FOIA performance remains at the lowest point since agency reporting began in 1998." Increased awareness of governmental actions is the public's only defense. "Knowledge is power. By restricting public access to information, the government diminishes the power of the people. FOIA preserves America's right to know," says Gniewek.
Let the Sunshine In
The fight for open government will always be a contest between competing values, but the public's interest must always win. FOIA ensures government accountability. It also encourages whistle-blowers and insiders to expose wrongdoing. "When organizations respond as the law requires, the revealed information can provoke public reaction that improves government operations, eliminates waste and fraud, and even saves lives. When organizations don't respond, those opportunities are delayed, or completely lost," says Gniewek.
Sunny Days Are Here Again - Thanks to Hard Work of the Press!
"The media should be commended for its efforts to champion the public's right to information. It is through their persistence to disclose the truth that our democratic rights are preserved. I urge all journalists to tell the open government story not only during National Sunshine Week, but throughout the year. It is critical that our nation's media organizations continue to aggressively engage open government issues," says Gniewek.
Spread A Little Sunshine
"Support your rights to open government by participating in a Sunshine Week event, writing to your legislator, governmental official or a letter to the editor about this crucial issue. It is time to stand up for your rights! Support America's right to know," says Gniewek.
About National Sunshine
National Sunshine Week coordinated by the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Newspaper Editors has been celebrated each March since 2005 with nationwide events promoting greater openness in government. For National Sunshine Week event information, please see: http://www.sunshineweek.org.
National Sunshine focuses the attention of SPJ chapters and leaders on Freedom of Information problems, issues, needs and solutions at the local, chapter and state level. State sunshine chairs represent their states as spokespersons and in national debates on Freedom of Information and accessibility issues.
About Catherine A. Gniewek
Catherine A. Gniewek was recently named Michigan Sunshine Chair by the Society of Professional Journalists representing the state of Michigan on Freedom of Information and accessibility issues in local, state and national debates. Ms. Gniewek is an instructor of communication and a doctoral candidate at Central Michigan University. She is president and founder of MichiganToday.net (http://www.michigantoday.net), an online multimedia publication dedicated to Michigan. Ms. Gniewek is an active member and supporter of numerous Michigan community organizations and has acted as keynote speaker for several state events.
For more information on Michigan Sunshine, please contact: Catherine A. Gniewek at cgniewek @ michigantoday.net or (734) 223-9645.
About MichiganToday.net (MTN)
MichiganToday.net is all about Michigan. MichiganToday.net is located at: http://www.michigantoday.net. MichiganToday.net is Michigan's own multimedia online magazine offering a wide variety of topics all about Michigan! Discover exciting features on automotive, careers, finance, happenings, issues, living, money, people, sports, travel and much more!
MichiganToday.net works in conjunction with many Michigan universities offering students hands-on experience in multimedia online publication guided by award-winning journalists and staff. MTN online exposure has often resulted in professional employment opportunities for our student contributors.