Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Freedom of Information Day!

Freedom of Information Day is held annually on or near March 16. Why March 16? Because this is the birthday of our fourth President and political philosopher James Madison, widely known as the Father of our Constitution and held as the foremost advocate for openness in government.

"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both."
James Madison

Enacted in 1966, and taking effect on July 5, 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) protects the rights of American citizens to obtain access to federal agency records. A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. For more information about the Freedom of Information Act and your rights under it, see the official government site at

The New York Public Library, in its blog for The Huffington Post, asked Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Barstow of the New York Times some questions about FOIA, freedom of information and freedom of the press. (Both the current and previous presidential administrations have been the subject of controversy about how much access they've allowed the public to have). Join in the conversation here.

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