AOF Activities & Events
Sunshine Week begins with Freedom of Information Day (March 16), the birthday of James Madison, and runs through March 22. Madison was the principal author of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights which guarantee the rights of citizens. Therefore Sunshine Week stands as a national initiative to open discussions about the important or open government and the freedom of information.
Sunshine Week dates back to 2002 when the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Sunday in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create new exemptions to the state's public records law. After Florida's initiation on this topic, other states followed its course. The American Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Week in March 2005. It has become an annual event.
Sunshine Week is not restricted to journalists. Anyone can be involved: students, teachers, bloggers, private citizens, public officials and non-profit groups. The only requirement is to engage in a public discussion either small or large about the importance of open government. A discussion can take many forms: a large public forum, a classroom discussion, an article or an editorial. The idea of participation is not about how much, but about actually being involved.
To participate in Sunshine Week, contact the state or regional coordinators for your area. Examples of the myriad ways journalists, students, lawmakers and public groups marked Sunshine Week in 2005 and 2006 are collected in "Bright Ideas for Sunshine Week 2007" and "Bright Ideas for Sunshine Week 2006".