Navigate the murky waters of FOI requests.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has just launched FOIA Wiki -  a free public resource on the US’ federal Freedom of Information Act and related laws, regulations, and procedures.

The Wiki aims to support journalists seeking data or other materials from the US Government.

According to Adam Marshall, Knight Litigation Attorney at the Reporters Committee, “FOIA is somewhat of a paradox”.

“On the one hand, the law exists for the use of the public—to promote democratic governance by keeping us informed about what our government is up to. But at the same time, FOIA is incredibly complex, making it difficult for the public to use effectively. The statute is dense and poorly organized, and there’s 50 years of case law interpreting it. Reporters, members of the public, and even lawyers need assistance.”

To help combat this problem, FOIA Wiki distils the convoluted FOI process – from procedural requirements to fee waivers – into layman’s terms. More complex or specific issues can be discussed in the resource’s dedicated forum.

In addition, the Wiki provides detailed FOI information for each agency, which includes contact information; average response time and fee rate; a list of FOI cases involving the agency; and, data from MuckRock, FOIA Project and FOIA Mapper.


Image: The Peace Corps FOIA Wiki entry.

The tool is currently in beta, and contributions from the FOI community are encouraged.

Visit the FOIA Wiki here.