The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of media groups committed to promoting policies that ensure the government is accessible, accountable and open. Public oversight is the ultimate safeguard of democracy. This is not an issue just for the media. It is the inalienable right of citizens to examine and judge their government; and that right is served when news media act on behalf of the public to gain access to information.
Sunshine in Government Initiative Principles
- An informed public is the cornerstone of our democracy. Open government instills public trust. Policies preserving access to information are essential to our national well-being.
- Americans depend on news media to inform them about governmental activities and to exercise the right of access to appropriate government information on the public's behalf.
- In a democracy, government must function under a presumption of openness, balancing this as necessary with legitimate national security needs and the confidentiality concerns of individual privacy.
- The Freedom of Information Act should be preserved and strengthened. Over-classification, unconstrained nondisclosure agreements, and indiscriminate use of "sensitive" designations to withhold information ill serve our nation's security interests and thwart the public's right to know.
Who We Are
Members of the Sunshine in Government Initiative
American Society of Newspaper Editors
The American Society of Newspaper Editors is a nonprofit organization founded in 1922. It has a nationwide membership of approximately 800 persons who hold positions as directing editors of daily newspapers throughout the United States, with members recently being added in Canada and other countries in the Americas. The purposes of the Society include assisting journalists and providing an unfettered and effective press in the service of the American people. For more information, visit www.asne.org.
The Associated Press
As the largest and oldest news organization in the world, the Associated Press is considered the backbone of the world's information system. AP serves thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers through which it provides news, photos, graphics, audio and video for more than one billion people each day. AP's mission is to be the essential global news network, providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed. For more information, visit www.ap.org.
The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) is the not-for-profit trade association for 126 alternative newspapers in North America, including weekly papers like the Austin Chronicle, Chicago Reader and The Village Voice. AAN publications provide an editorial alternative to the mainstream press through provocative writing and point-of-view reporting. AAN members have a total weekly circulation of more than 7 million and a reach of 17 million readers. For more information, visit http://www.aan.org.
Coalition of Journalists for Open Government
The Coalition of Journalists for Open Government is an alliance of more than 30 journalism-related organizations concerned about secrecy in government and the increasing closure of public records and meetings at all levels of government. Coalition members share information, coordinate activities and often combine efforts and resources in the fight for open government. For more information, visit www.cjog.net.
National Association of Broadcasters
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. For more information, visit www.nab.org.
National Newspaper Association
Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association (NNA) is the national voice of community newspapers. NNA represents owners, publishers, and editors of America's community newspapers, and with 2,500 newspaper members it is the largest newspaper association in the United States. The association's mission is to protect, promote and enhance America's community newspapers. For more information, go to www.nna.org.
Newspaper Association of America
The Newspaper Association of America is a nonprofit trade organization representing more than 2,000 newspapers, including 90 percent of the daily circulation in the United States. The association focuses on six key strategic priorities that collectively affect the newspaper industry: public policy, marketing, diversity, industry development, newspaper operations and readership. For more information, visit www.naa.org.
Radio-Television News Directors Association
The Radio-Television News Directors Association is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, its purpose is to set standards of news gathering and reporting. For more information, visit www.rtnda.org.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was created in 1970 at a time when the nation's news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Ever since then, the committee's primary mission is to serve working journalists - 2,000 of them every year. And since its founding, no reporter has ever paid for the committee's help in defending First Amendment rights. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org.
Society of Professional Journalists
The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation's most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information, visit www.spj.org.