Sunday, February 27, 2005

Exercise your right to know.

In 1966, the federal government passed the Freedom of Information Act, which makes all records of government agencies presumptively available to you upon request. In the years since, many state governments created similar laws which guarantee your right to inspect a storehouse of government documents. Journalists, scholars, and the public have used the Freedom of Information Act to investigate a wide range of news stories, historical events, political situations. These investigations often lead to positive change in our society.

If you need to find out government information, check out resources:

* The Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press has published a do-it-yourself booklet on How to use the Freedom of Information Act which you can read online for free.

* Detailed information on state open records and meetings law can be found in the RCFP guide "Tapping Officials' Secrets" at

* Transparency International is "the leading global non-governmental organization devoted to combating corruption.  Its mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption."

* is an online international network of freedom of information advocates.

The Freedom of Information act helps citizens hold the government accountable. As the old saying goes, "Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing."


Karama said...

In 1972, then Governor Jimmy Carter signed Georgia's first "sunshine" law. Learn more at the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, the Georgia Attorney General's Office, and the Georgia Press Association.

Karama said...

Just FYI, the RCFP runs a legal defense hotline (1-800-336-4243) which is available 24 hours a day for journalists and media lawyers.

Karama said...

This just in from Gregg Leslie at RCFP:

"Thanks for your mention of our FOI Act guide. I'd just point out that the guide only covers the federal government. For even more detailed information on state open records and meetings law, see our guide "Tapping Officials' Secrets" at

Gregg Leslie
Legal Defense Director"

Anonymous said...

Many words here. The real need may be for less words and more "action".
That is put into practice the true values long ago layed before the mind. "Let this mind be in YOU that was ALSO in Christ Jesus."
"If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally,and upbradith not,and it shall be given him"
Without a "correct" test of "value" nothing I do or that will be done will last.

Karama said...

March 13-19th is the First Annual National Sunshine Week. Visit for more on freedom of information in each state. You'll also find toolkits, references, announcements and more. Enjoy!

Karama said...

Here's a letter to the editor I wrote regarding responsible usage of the Open Records Act. It's posted on Open Letters for Change.