From Angela Canterbury @ the Watchdog Blog: What does it mean to have an open government? As a catch phrase, it is appealing, like apple pie. It seems especially American and downright fundamental: “a government by and for the people.” It suggests that we are in power, and that through transparency we can avoid tyranny and oppression.
In truth, it is an ideal – one for which we are still reaching. The Constitution, and the First Amendment in particular, provides the principals, but it has taken the efforts of many over two centuries to create a legal and practical framework for some transparency in government. We might prefer that our elected officials spend their time pondering how to make the government more accountable to the people (instead of fundraising), but unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Often we have gained more access through legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act, enacted in response to some crisis of trust in our public officials.
Now is such a time.