HOW DOES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION WORK?

  • The enacted freedom of information (FOI) legislation obligates government and public institutions to proactively disclose information about their functions and responsibilities, decisions affecting the public, complaint mechanisms, and how the public can input into policy-making.
  • For information that is not proactively disclosed, an individual or organization writes to the relevant government department or public body asking for certain document(s).
  • All public bodies are obligated by the FOI law to give reasonable assistance. No cost should be incurred on the requester other than the photocopying costs.
  • The request must be responded to within a reasonable deadline, usually 30 days.
  • If the information is denied, reasons must be given as well as advice on how to appeal, either to the courts or to an independent appeals body.

What can freedom of information legislation achieve?

  • Less corruption
  • Freedom from hunger
  • A healthier society
  • A cleaner environment
  • Protection of human rights
  • Protection of privacy
  • More effective democracy
  • A more efficient economy
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