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Your right to know: Keeping NH government open

March 12. 2017 10:45PM

You have a right to know what your government is doing on your behalf.

This bedrock principle is written into the New Hampshire Constitution, and protected under New Hampshire law.

We mark the beginning of Sunshine Week by renewing our call for the Legislature to bring New Hampshire’s Right-to-Know law into the 21st century. Written when public records were just pieces of paper, questions of access to emails and other electronic documents didn’t arise.

The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications explores “The Right to Know in New Hampshire, in Theory and Practice” tonight at 7. The event is free and open to the public.

Our executive editor, Trent Spiner, will be on the panel. He serves as president of the New Hampshire Press Association.

The public’s right to know is not self-enforcing. It requires the vigilance of a free press, and engaged citizens, to make sure public officials do their work out in the open.

That same principle applies at the national level. President Donald Trump may have run afoul of records laws by deleting tweets with spelling errors. That’s not something anyone could have contemplated when writing the Freedom of Information Act in 1966.

Updates are needed, but government officials should be able to comply with the law in good faith. When they do not, we will continue to fight to keep your government transparent and accessible.

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