Monday, February 2, 2009

Help us make the sun shine in Kentucky

The Kentucky Open Government Blog is jointly sponsored by the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications, and Kentucky Citizens for Open Government. Our mission is to monitor and report on First Amendment and open government issues in the state. "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency," President Obama declared on his first day in office. He also quoted the late Justice Louis Brandeis, left, a Kentucky native: "Sunshine is the best disinfectant." We agree. A free and active press is the best guarantor of that transparency. Frequently, the battle to maintain it takes place not in Washington but in places like the town of Oak Grove, where the Kentucky New Era newspaper of Hopkinsville battled police officials to report on dangerous high-speed chases (photo by Danny Vowell of the New Era); or in the jurisdiction next door, where the Todd County Standard published a transcript of a 911 call in which the sheriff tried to get himself out of a jam in another county; or in Lexington, where simple but thorough reporting on public expense-account records by the Lexington Herald-Leader turned up egregious misconduct by airport officials, and prompted new attention to the use of public money by other government officials. We will be featuring such effective reporting on First Amendment and open government issues, as well as legislative and judicial actions across the state. We welcome all comments and contributions.

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