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Watch a dark video next week!

Thanks to Patrice McDermott of Open the Government for passing along the following DVD announcement:

OpenTheGovernment.org
Americans for Less Secrecy, More Democracy

Contact: Emily Feldman or Patrice McDermott
Organization: OpenTheGovernment.org
Phone Number: (202) 332-6736
Email address: [email protected]

DVD on Government Secrecy Conference Released “Are We Safer in the Dark?” covers national discussion on right-to-know, access to information, and openness

For Immediate Release
Washington, DC, 28 September 2006 — A DVD examining the issues of government secrecy is now available for purchase on the Special Libraries Association (SLA) website for the cost of $25 (USD). Titled, “Are We Safer in the Dark, A Sunshine Week National Dialogue On Open Government & Secrecy,” the DVD is a recording of a national teleconference held during Sunshine Week and produced through a collaboration of national organizations dedicated to open government.

The organizations sponsoring the event and DVD are OpenTheGovernment.org and American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, American Society of Newspaper Editors / Sunshine Week, Association of Research Libraries, Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, League of Women Voters, National Freedom of Information Coalition, National Press Club, and Special Libraries Association.

“An open and accountable government is the hallmark of an informed and engaged citizenry,” said Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. “We believe that the American public is safer when we know the risks and threats we face and ensure our government is taking the steps to address them while respecting our rights and liberties. We cannot risk remaining in the dark.”

The DVD records the 90-minute national teleconference conducted on 13 March, during Sunshine Week 2006 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The distinguished speakers at that event addressed important issues and fielded questions that came in from audiences in sites throughout the U.S. The resulting DVD is a complete discussion on the hot-button issues surrounding open access to government information in the United States today.

The DVD features speakers & video segments addressing the following issues:

Do federal 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 affect the government’s readiness and response to disasters such as Sago Mines and Hurricane Katrina? What about the public’s ability to plan and respond – or to prevent disasters?

What tools and resources work effectively in safeguarding the public’s ability to hold government accountable?

To order a copy of Are we Safer in the Dark? please visit the SLA website: http://www.sla.org/marketplace/stores/1/DVD_-_Are_We_Safer_in_the_Dark_P90.cfm.

About OpenTheGovernment.org
OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition of consumer and good government groups, environmentalists, library groups, journalists, labor and others united to make the federal government a more open place in order to make us safer, strengthen public trust in government, and support our democratic principles.

About Sunshine Week
Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. Sunshine Week is led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami. Though spearheaded by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why. Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.

Even without seeing the video, I think I can confidently say that the answer to the title question is a resounding no. But order the DVD anyway. It’d make a nice library addition or family conversation starter.

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