Indiana Coalition for Open Government has been honored with the Frank O’Bannon Sunshine Award for its ongoing work to promote public access to government.

The award is presented by the Hoosier State Press Association each year to an individual, group or organization that demonstrates outstanding effort to protect and enhance open government in Indiana. ICOG President Keith Robinson accepted the award – a clear glass trophy symbolizing transparency in government – at HSPA’s annual meeting at the Indianapolis Hyatt Regency in January.

ICOG’s efforts on behalf of the public’s right to know were lauded by Bill Nangle, executive editor of The Times (Munster), who nominated the organization for the honor.

Since it was founded in 1995 by a coalition of journalists and citizens, ICOG has been involved in numerous efforts devoted to public access, including conferences and panels, a guidebook on the Open Door Law and Access to Public Records Act, and a groundbreaking survey examining the effectiveness of the state Office of Public Access Counselor (PAC). ICOG representatives have also testified before legislative committees, including SB 232, a bill moving through the legislature this year that would strengthen the enforcement of the state access laws.

More than two dozen legislators were in attendance at the awards ceremony. HSPA board president Jack Pate, publisher of the Evansville Courier & Press, presided. The O’Bannon award, named for the former governor, was created in 2005 by HSPA, which represents nearly all daily and weekly paid circulation newspapers in the state.