FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

How an Award-Winning Investigation Was Buried in Two Newsrooms

Earlier this month the Indian news site Newslaundry won a prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for a series of stories based on Right to Information (RTI) requests. The information — over 2,000 letters from Indian state-owned enterprises revealed how political leaders routinely misused up to US$15 million in public funds by asking for media ads or sponsorships for their pet organizations. Here’s the inside story of how the piece almost didn’t come to light.

FOI Laws A Global Success Story

All around the world, very real benefits result when legal tools are used to obtain government information. Because there are so many frustrations for those who seek information, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the positive benefits. Freedom of information (FOI) reform advocates need to document and celebrate the victories.

The Global FOI Guide

Today, more than 90 countries have laws that require officials to turn over public records, and the number continues to grow each year. And even in countries with no laws specifying whether records should be made available, it never hurts to ask.

Below are a few of the best resources for journalists seeking to file records requests in countries with laws governing access to information.