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UW-Eau Claire to Participate in National Conversation on Open Government and Secrecy

RELEASED: Feb. 27, 2006

EAU CLAIRE — In conjunction with Sunshine Week, March 12-18, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will participate in a 90-minute conversation with national experts to discuss government secrecy, open government, sunshine laws and how they affect public safety and our lives.

"Are We Safer in the Dark? A Dialogue on Open Government and Secrecy" will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 13, in L2023 A–C of UW-Eau Claire's McIntyre Library. The program will be broadcast from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

During the real-time satellite transmission, telephone and e-mail connections will allow for audience input. Video montages will illustrate the effects of the lack of government transparency on communities and individuals.

According to Leslie Foster, head of government publications at McIntyre Library and assistant professor of library services, McIntyre Library and the UW-Eau Claire department of communication and journalism are sponsoring this event to raise awareness about the importance of open government for everyone and to publicize the resources available to safeguard the public's ability to hold government accountable.

Questions to be addressed include the following:

  • Do laws such as the Freedom of Information Act fulfill their promise to guarantee openness in government?
  • How do laws passed and policies/ regulations implemented since 9/11 encourage secrecy or openness?
  • How does transparency (or a lack thereof) affect the government's readiness and response to disasters such as the Sago Mine tragedy and Hurricane Katrina?
  • What about the public's ability to plan and respond to or prevent disasters?
  • How do secrecy and openness influence the personal choices you make to ensure the education, safety and well-being of your families?
  • How is government held accountable?
  • The first national "Sunshine Week: Your Right to Know," was launched in March 2005. Sponsors of the 2006 national discussion for Sunshine Week include the American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Association of Research Libraries, Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, League of Women Voters, National Freedom of Information Coalition, Special Libraries Association, OpenTheGovernment.org, and Sunshine Week.

The dialogue is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Foster at fosterla@uwec.edu, or Betsy Richmond at richmoeb@uwec.edu.

-30-

NW

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