Concerned about what it calls the "dangerous growth of public secrecy," the Radio-Television News Directors Association and its associated foundation have produced three TV spots promoting Sunshine Week, which begins March 13.
Sunshine Week is an effort by electronic and print journalists across the country to 1) educate citizens about their rights to government information and 2) update them on government efforts to restrict those rights. that effort includes news stories, PSA's, editorials, cartoons, speeches and seminars throughout the week.
RTNDA is urging stations to air the spots, produced by the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation, which include expert interviews about 1) freedom of information restrictions on aviation-related information; 2) a January 2005 chlorine spill and train derailment that highlighted increased restrictions on public safety information; and 3) a reporter shield law, illustrated by the case of Jim Taricani, the investigative reporter for NBC Universal-owned WJAR-TV Providence, R.I., convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to reveal a source.
The spots do not feature any reporter, and stations are being encouraged to associate their own reporter or anchor with them.
Sunshine Week is being spearheaded by the American Society of Newspaper Editors on the print side and RTNDA on the broadcast side, both through a grant from the James L. Knight Foundation.