Celebrate Sunshine Week
“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.” – James Madison, fourth president of the United States
Sunshine Week, which kicked off Sunday and runs through Saturday, is a week-long national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors, aimed at stressing the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.
The first Sunshine Week was celebrated from March 13-19, 2005, and always coincides with James Madison’s birthday and National Freedom of Information Day, which is today.
Sunshine Week, though isn’t only for newspapers and other media organizations. Sunshine Week is for everyone who fights to hold governments – from towns, cities and counties to state and national bodies – accountable to the public they serve.
We at The Telegraph join ASNE is celebrating this all-important initiative and will work diligently throughout the week to shine a light on local issues that impact us all.
The power – and responsibility – of the press is immense, and one of its primary functions is to be a watchdog for the community, holding governments and public officials in check.
We all, though, can take part in that, which was made clear by Nashua’s own Laurie Ortolano, who has battled with the city assessing department over issues she has faced as a property owner.
Ortolano’s many Right to Know requests and work on behalf of her fellow citizens if very worthy of praise, and also should serve as a reminder to all community members that they can fight back and make a difference when they see something is amiss.
This week, let us all shine a light on our government so there is no secrecy and so all information is free and open to everyone.