Transparent government essential to public oversight

Sunshine Week

Without information and knowledge the blessings of free government cannot be long continued.  Thomas Worthington

Ohio's sixth governor (1814-1818) was an enlightened man.

Worthington's words are etched in glass in a framed display in the crypt of the Statehouse, a back-lit reminder of the importance of the citizenry's right to know.

Sunday marks the annual observance of the News Leaders Association's Sunshine Week underscoring the vital value of open government and access to public records and meetings.

From the editor: Sunshine Week shows need to shine light on government

Amid so-called alternative facts and a divisive dialogue often consumed with competing claims of truth, public records provide a basis for ferreting out fact and calling out fiction.

“Transparency in government processes and decisions and the public having access to the records related to those decisions is increasingly important," said Monica Nieporte, executive director of the Ohio News Media Association.

"There is so much rumor and disinformation, particularly on cable entertainment talk shows and on social media, that it is important local journalists and citizens have the ability to find the facts and determine the truth of a situation,” she said.

Sunshine Week

As a one-time newspaper reporter, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has a long-time appreciation of sunshine and its role in enabling public oversight of government.

“Secrecy in any relationship destroys trust — friendship, a marriage or a business partnership. Transparency builds trust," Yost said. “More now than ever, we in government need to build trust with those we serve. It starts with openness in public decision-making and the records that document it.”

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