National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

New Freedom of Information Guidance Advances Openness

From OMB Watch:

New guidance issued Friday by the Department of Justice (DOJ) will help to ensure that a little-known part of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will not be inappropriately used to shield agency activities from public scrutiny.

Under FOIA, the public has a right to request government information, and the government has to provide it unless it can give a good reason to keep it secret. Certain types of information are exempted from mandatory disclosure, like classified national security information or information that is deemed sensitive with regard to individual privacy. When agencies claim these exemptions, they have to notify both the requester and openly report their reason for withholding information.