OpenTheGov Takes a Look at FOIA’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Tomorrow the Index on Censorship will publish an article authored by Amy Bennett, the coalition's assistant director, that provides an overview of some of the US Freedom of Information Act's (FOIA) strengths and weaknesses. The article takes a critical look at the law's structure and how long delays in response and a lack of transparency about what the government is doing with a request once it is submitted lead to a system that doesn’t work for a lot of people. The piece also includes a review of how Congress amended FOIA in 2007 to create the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) to fill the dual role as a mediator in FOIA disputes between requesters and the government. OGIS could reduce costs by, among other things, keeping cases out of the court system and helping make sure Congress and the Administration are more aware of what problems in the FOIA system need immediate attention. However, in order to be successful, however, OGIS needs additional authority.

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