Sunshine Week spotlights the public's right to know

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By Carol A. Clark

The battle between the public’s right to know and the government’s demand for secrecy rages on and is highlighted during national Sunshine Week, which wraps up Saturday.The annual event was founded after the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors (FSNE) launched Sunshine Sunday in 2002 in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create scores of exemptions to the state’s public records law.An estimated 300 exemptions to open government laws were defeated in the legislative sessions that followed three Sunshine Sundays because of increased public and legislative awareness.Several states followed FSNE’s lead and in 2003, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) hosted a freedom of information summit in Washington, D.C., where Sunshine Week began to take shape. ASNE’s Freedom of Information Committee launched the first official Sunshine Week in March 2005.Funded primarily by a grant from the John S. and James L.

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