The Press Club of Long Island is celebrating Sunshine Week. We’ve reached out to influential people who have an intimate knowledge of Freedom of Information and asked them to share their brief thoughts on the importance of open government.
Keep an eye out over the next few days as we release quotes from various people in journalism and communications.
Roy S. Gutterman is an associate professor and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a former newspaper reporter and lawyer and writes and speaks on media law, First Amendment and legal issues.
Gutterman on FOI and Open Government: “Sunshine Week provides a wake-up call to journalists, citizens and even the government that public information is just that: public. Freedom of Information Laws, both at the state and federal levels, provide us with opportunities to delve into records and information held by the government. Particularly, it provides journalists with substantial resources for stories, both run-of-the-mill and investigative. Unfortunately, not all journalists use these resources enough and sometimes government officials are a little too eager to restrict access to documents by over-zealously interpreting and applying the legal exceptions.”
About Sunshine Week: National Sunshine Week has been celebrated every March since 2005, thanks to the hard work of the American Society of News Editors. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civics groups, non-profits, schools and libraries. The activities are funded from a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to enlighten the public about their right to government information and strengthen their communities.