WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Letting the Light Shine on Government

Mar 17, 2015

This is the 11th annual Sunshine Week.  It was started as a way of promoting the need for open and transparent government.  It's observed by journalists and many others who keep tabs on public servants.

Shop Talk panelist Rich Moreno thinks Sunshine Week a nice sentiment and he said it’s important to draw attention to the issue.  However, he questions its impact. He said some government workers and politicians continue to ignore transparency laws.

Moreno also feels there continue to be assaults on the idea of open and transparent government.  He said a prime example is Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while she was Secretary of State.

Jasmine Crighton said a lot of people didn’t understand why there was such a fuss about Clinton’s private email account. Crighton said that underscores the need to better educate the public about open government.

Crighton also said Sunshine Week is a good opportunity for journalism teachers to talk to students about transparency issues.

Rich Egger said governments sometimes avoid transparency by muddying the waters.  He pointed to the example of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found the agency prohibited employees from using terms such as “climate change” and “global warming.”