Newspapers around the state came together Sunday to celebrate the laws that allow the media to serve the public unlike ever before.
The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors decided to start “Sunshine Sunday” last year to celebrate the 1968 Sunshine Law, which grants access to public records, taking freedom of the press to another level.
However, obtaining these records is easier said than done.
There have been break-ins, rapes and other crimes at FAMU this semester, all unbeknownst to the students who walk the campus everyday.
Because The Famuan is too often given the runaround when trying to find out what happened.
Informing the community is The Famuan’s highest priority. But the voice of Florida A&M University has been muffled because of delays in receiving public information.
The Florida statutes allow the public to know what happened. When, where and who was involved in the incident that took place.
Article I, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution states that “every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received” involving some sort of public body or official.
If these records are so open, then please explain why The Famuan is directed to University Relations after calling the FAMU Police Department for information, only to be sent back to the police for answers, especially when the department has a public information officer whose duty is to inform the media?
The Famuan will not be stifled.
It is committed to serving the community by acting as watchdogs for the campus, because its dedication is to the community, not to the organizations it’s barking about.
It, like other papers around the state, will continue to celebrate “Sunshine Sunday,” but not without recognizing the obstacles it must overcome to obtain the public records to which it is entitled.
Everyone loves a faithful watchdog until it is barking about him.
Tanya Caldwell for The Famuan.