Let the sun shine

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mother Nature has been generous this week with beautiful weather and unseasonably warm temperatures.

All this sunshine has been a welcome change of pace for those who enjoy the river, love the outdoors or find themselves regular visitors to the ballpark.

Coincidentally, this has been a week designated for celebrating sunshine, although it’s of a different sort than the kind published in the daily weather forecasts.

Sunshine Week is an initiative promoting open government and freedom of information.

As you might imagine, these principles are held dear by newspapers and other media, including the Washington Daily News.

Sunshine Week was created by journalists, but its focus is critical to our country, our community. Open government makes both stronger.

You have a right to know what your government is doing and why.

Those rights are protected by law in North Carolina. Under most circumstances, legislation requires official meetings of public bodies to be open to the public. Legislation also establishes public information and public records compiled by your government as property of the people.

Gov. Bev Perdue issued a proclamation encouraging all citizens to commend the observance of Sunshine Week.

“The free flow of information from the government to the people instills trust and confidence in our democracy and ensures that our government is accessible, accountable and open,” the proclamation reads.

It’s good to see this kind of recognition from those elected to serve. Unfortunately, those entrusted to do public business and keep public information sometimes violate the spirit or laws of open government.

Whether inadvertent or intentional, this underscores the importance of efforts like Sunshine Week to promote and maintain transparency and accountability from our government.

I hope you enjoy the sunshine.