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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Home

Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Enacted in 1966, and taking effect on July 5, 1967, the Freedom of Information Act provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.1 The FOIA thus established a statutory right of public access to Executive Branch information in the federal government.2

The United States Supreme Court has explained that "[t]he basic purpose of [the] FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed."3 The "FOIA is often explained as a means for citizens to know 'what their Government is up to.'"4 The Supreme Court stressed that "[t]his phrase should not be dismissed as a convenient formalism."5 Rather, "[i]t defines a structural necessity in a real democracy."6 As President Obama has declared, "[a] democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency."7 The FOIA "encourages accountability through transparency."8  From: Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act


U.S. Government Resources

How do I make a FOIA Request?

Declassified Documents

Non-Government Sources

Official Government Resources

Each Federal government agency website includes a FOIA section (often referred to as a FOIA Library) where commonly requested materials are posted along with instructions for submitting a FOIA request to that agency. These sites should be searched prior to making a FOIA request.

State of Georgia Open Records

Open Government Organizations in Georgia

UGA Open Records

Additional FOIA Resources

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