“Freedom of Information Day” is celebrated all across the United States on March 16th near the beginning of Sunshine Week (Mar 14-20), commemorating the birthday of the 4th President of the United States of America, James Madison (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836).
James Madison was instrumental in drafting of the Constitution and is hence regarded as the “Father of the Constitution”. As a politician and able statesman, and also as leader in the House of Representatives, he always championed the cause of freedom of information and individual rights and vehemently opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts. He is also bestowed with the “Father of the Bill of Rights” for his contribution in drafting of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Information Act was enacted into law in 1966.
This day is thus a celebration of one of the most valuable rights of a modern democratic free society. In order to uphold the spirit of this great visionary, the James Madison Freedom of Information award is given out each year to exemplary individuals and organizations of North California who have championed the advancement of freedom of information and expression. The awards are given in various categories some of which are professional journalism, public officials, media organizations, non-profit organizations, whistle blowers etc.