It’s ‘Sunshine Week’

March 10 to 16, 2019, is “Sunshine Week” — an effort sponsored by ASNE and the Reporters Committee to recognize the value of transparency and the freedom of information act and its impact on journalism.

  • In the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and similar deaths of unarmed black men, police departments around the country faced public pressure to begin using body cameras. They have been touted as a way to increase police transparency by allowing for a neutral view of whether an officer’s actions were justified.
  • The Associated Press tested that transparency for Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of open government, by filing open records requests related to roughly 20 recent use-of-force incidents in a dozen states.
  • It found that police departments routinely withhold video taken by body-worn and dashboard-mounted cameras that show officer-involved shootings and other uses of force. They often do so by citing a broad exemption to state open-records laws, claiming that releasing the video would undermine an ongoing investigation.