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Freedom of Information Day
March 16

Sunshine Week
March 16 - 22

Sunshine Week is celebrated annually from March 16 through March 22. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open discussions about the important or open government and the freedom of information.

Sunshine Week starts with Freedom of Information (FOI) day on March 16, which is the birthday of James Madison. This day was chosen because Madison was the principal author of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights which guarantee the rights of citizens.

Sunshine Week dates back to 2002 when the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Sunday in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create new exemptions to the state's public records law. After Florida's initiation on this topic several other states followed their course. The American Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Week in March 2005, and it has become an annual event.

Anyone can be involved in Sunshine Week. It isn't restricted to journalists; students, teachers, bloggers, private citizens, public officials, and non-profits have been involved. The only requirement is that you engage in a public discussion either small or large about the importance of open government. This can take many forms: a large public forum, a classroom discussion, an article, or an editorial. The idea of participation is not about how much, but about actually being involved.

To get involved with Sunshine Week, contact the state or regional coordinators for your area. Examples of the myriad ways journalists, students, lawmakers and public groups marked Sunshine Week in 2005 and 2006 are collected in "Bright Ideas for Sunshine Week 2007" and "Bright Ideas for Sunshine Week 2006".

Send in your events & ideas!