When the Bureau of Investigative Journalism asked to see a contract between property developers and the North London borough of Haringey, its reporters were disappointed to receive a heavily-redacted document. This was part of a drive by the UK nonprofit to test the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, which gives citizens and journalists the right to access the accounts and related documents of city councils and other local authorities.
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More than 115 countries worldwide have laws that require officials to turn over public records. Of course, even in the countries that have no laws it never hurts to ask. But there’s an advantage to using an access law — variously called freedom of information laws, access to information laws, right to information and right to know laws. COVID-19 Update:
Tips on Making FOIA Requests About COVID-19 A GIJN guide on using freedom of information (FOI) laws to understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Mountains of vital stories about the coronavirus are hidden in public records.
More than 115 countries worldwide have laws that require officials to turn over public records. Variously called freedom of information, access to information, right to information and right to know laws, they all can help journalists access public records. We’ve lined up GIJN’s Complete Global Guide to Freedom of Information to help you navigate the terrain.