The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has published its 9th edition of “How to Use the Federal FOI Act.”
The handbook explains the new ways in which the federal government processes Freedom of Information Act requests. It also documents changes in the way the government is answering requesters because of new court rulings, new legislation and changes in administrative policy.
“We believe the newest edition of the handbook, which is one of the Reporters Committee’s most-requested publications, will especially help requesters navigate changes in classification policy and new uses of national security as a reason for invoking exemptions to the federal FOI Act,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish.
Step-by-step guidance for requesters along with a short course on the exemptions to the FOI Act will help them to frame their initial requests to agencies and to write appeals of denials. The book offers advice on how to obtain expedited review and suggestions for overcoming other problems. It also describes new ways in which the government cites privacy to deny requests.
An expanded list of federal FOI office addresses and telephone numbers should help requesters direct their requests to the right office.
Copies of the handbook can be purchased for $5 each through the Reporters Committee web site at: https://www.reporterscommittee.org/secure/orderform.html. It also can be accessed for free at https://www.rcfp.org/foiact/index.html.
In addition, the web site includes a newly updated FOI letter request generator, to simplify the process of creating a records request letter, including requests for fee waivers, fee benefits and expedited processing.
Funding for this edition was provided by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists; Newsday, Inc.; the Scripps Howard Foundation, and the St. Petersburg Times Fund, Inc.