Shine a light on officials

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The First Amendment is short but sweet, setting out five of the essential rights we, as Americans, should hold dear.

Naturally, we in the media business are fond of the ideas of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

However, those freedoms can’t ever be reality unless we have an open government. If we journalists can’t sit in on a meeting of public officials, for example, how can the public be expected to know what really happened in the meeting?

This week is Sunshine Week, an annual week focused on the public’s right to know what its government is doing and why.

Many Shelby County citizens are informed and knowledgeable about what they should expect to know about their government.

We see and hear people demand more governmental accountability all the time — at meetings, in the comments on our Web site, in the letters to the editor we receive.

That’s a great thing. Elected officials should know the public demands the truth from them at all times.

After all, politicians are here to serve the public, just like we journalists are. If the public demands information, it will eventually come to light, and anyone who stands in the way will be exposed as well.

Know your rights as a private citizen and help us make sure the sun shines always on the workings of government.