Sunshine Week as important as ever


If there was ever a year that proved journalists play a vital role in our democratic society, 2020 was it.

Misinformation shared on social media, lies told by politicians before, during and after the election season, and public access restrictions caused by COVID-19 were just a few of the anxieties the average American faced last year.

Thankfully, there was a source that the public could trust when it came obtaining information: newspapers.

Despite the pandemic, journalists have fought for government transparency every day. Whether it be in Washington, D.C. or Seymour, Indiana, newspapers have continued to serve the public as the Fourth Estate.

At The Tribune, we strongly feel that it’s our role to act as a watchdog over public offices and fight for transparency in our government. We take the concerns of our fellow taxpayers seriously, and demand answers when questions are raised.

That means covering public meetings, whether virtual or in person, putting in records requests, reviewing voting records, and more.

This week, the news industry is celebrating the importance of access to public information through Sunshine Week. The first Sunshine Week was celebrated on March 16, which is the birthday of James Madison, father of the Constitution and a key advocate of the Bill of Rights.

During Sunshine Week, we continue to encourage all citizens to subscribe to local newspapers and contact legislators to voice support for laws that make the government more transparent.

In Indiana, two laws — the Access to Public Records Act and Open Door Law — are both vital to ensuring such transparency. Under the laws, no votes or decisions may be made behind closed sessions and all citizens are guaranteed the right to access information regarding the government and the official acts of public officials and employees.

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

Those sentiments still hold true today.

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