Secrecy trend undermines good government

Sunshine Week
Sunshine Week

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The best way to ensure good government is to demand that it act openly. But more and more, governments at all levels are closing the door to journalists and the public about information regarding its actions.

Such secrecy makes it difficult for the public to gauge how well government officials and employees are performing their duties. It makes it easier for government officials to look out for their own interests and slip into corruption.

Issues related to government transparency and access to government information are highlighted during Sunshine Week, which runs from March 16 to 22. The observance aims to remind government officials and the public about how democracy works best when government actions aren’t hidden in the dark and to assess how well government is assisting the public’s right to know.

This year’s assessment is not encouraging, according to experts and journalists in the trenches. That’s not necessarily a surprise. A 2012 report by the Center for Public Integrity gave more than half of state governments grades of D or F for transparency and accountability. West Virginia rated a D-plus, while Ohio received a D, and Kentucky was graded a C-minus.

But it appears matters have gotten worse…

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