Freedom of Information laws are a game changer for journalists anywhere, opening up the inner workings of government for inspection and now 90 countries have some form of FOI legislation. Sweden set the ball rolling in 1766, the US ‘sunshine’ laws have been in place since 1967 but it took the UK until 2000 to catch up.
As part of Sunshine Week, an annual US event to celebrate and promote open information, IRE and NICAR put together this Soundcloud playlist of “tips, tricks and techniques” for FOIA requests in the US covering resources, tactics, workflows and appeals to help fellow journalists.
Sources for advice in the UK are a bit more disparate, but the FOI Directory has a good list of tips based on personal experience; the government has its own guide to the process; WhatDoTheyKnow.com offers advice alongside pending and answered requests and here at Journalism.co.uk we spoke to journalists in the know for this feature.
- Journalism in Africa: Kenyan government seeks guidelines on anonymous sources
- Six pre-request FOI questions for journalists
- AP test claims 50% of countries with FOI laws ‘do not follow them’
- #Tip: Bookmark Emergency Journalism for a wealth of tools and resources
- Resources for journalists covering the floods in Pakistan