40 years of FOI in the USA

The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), celebrated its 40th anniversary on the 4th of July 2006. The law gives every citizen the legal right to file a request for information from any government agency, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The FOIA even gives citizens the right to sue the CIA.

"Over the past 15 years, the adoption of laws similar to the FOIA in countries throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has formed part of the process of "democratization." Countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania have adopted their own versions of freedom-of-information legislation, but in many cases, such as in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, the laws are not observed or enforced."

In the article, Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C., explains how the FOIA works in practice.

U.S.: Forty Years Of The Freedom Of Information Act (Radio Free Europe, 4 July 2006)