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Federal Open Government Guide aids reporters on federal access

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The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announces the release of the 10th edition of its guide to federal…

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announces the release of the 10th edition of its guide to federal open government laws, now titled the “Federal Open Government Guide.”

The guide, previously called the “How to Use the Federal FOI Act,” provides resources to navigate the federal Freedom of Information Act — the 43-year-old law that provides the public with access to government agency records. The new edition also addresses the federal open meetings law — the Government in the Sunshine Act — as well as the Privacy Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which provides a right of access to records and meetings of advisors outside the government.

“Every newsroom should have a copy of this guide to assist reporters in understanding and using federal open government laws,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish. “Nearly every federal open government situation you can imagine is covered in the new guidebook.”

For more complex situations, attorneys at the Reporters Committee are also available to aid reporters using these laws, free of charge, at (703) 807-2100 or via email at hotline@rcfp.org.

The 10th edition of the Federal Open Government Guide addresses recent changes to FOIA, signed into law in late 2007. It also features sample letters to request records under the open records laws and suggestions on arguments to push for release of records.

The guide is available for purchase at $10 per copy; bulk orders of 10 or more copies are discounted to $5 each. To order the guide, call (703) 807-2100, email publications@rcfp.org, or visit www.rcfp.org/orderform . The Federal Open Government Guide is also available, free of charge, through the Reporters Committee’s Web site at: www.rcfp.org/fogg .