In national recognition of citizens rights to open government, Sunshine Week – which will take place on March 12-18, 2006 – is already making headlines (see links, below). The second annual weeklong celebration is designed to promote and encourage citizen access to government information, thereby creating a more transparent political process.

What started as a one-day commemoration (“Sunshine Sunday”) in Florida in 2002 has mushroomed into a nationwide weeklong campaign during which editorial cartoons, news articles, special web sites, and public service announcements on radio and TV will draw attention to the push for open government. A 72-page book entitled “Bright Ideas for Sunshine Week 2006″ – which is available in its entirety online and free of charge – contains dozens of suggestions for increasing citizens access to government information.

Sunshine Week was first launched in 2005 by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Over 750 news organizations participated in last year’s Sunshine Week.