50 Days of FOIA: Countdown to the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act
May 17, 2016 by Jesse Franzblau
On May 15th, a broad coalition of open government and accountability organizations and media outlets are launching a “50 Days of FOIA” campaign — counting down the days to the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on July 4, 2016. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of the FOIA, while promoting the passage of meaningful reform legislation that now has the potential to become law by the time the statute turns 50 in less than two months.
For nearly 50 years, the FOIA has empowered the public by providing access to information essential for democratic governance and accountability. The law has also been used as a critical tool used to make the public aware of countless acts of waste, fraud, and abuse. With documents obtained under FOIA, countless media outlets, watchdog groups and individuals have broken stories about the withholding of informationabout hazardous drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the IRS’ civil forfeiture program, mistreatment of veteransat the VA medical offices, overdue inspections of the United States’ aging infrastructure, use of immigrant detention centers to hold minors,corporate abuse, and much more.
Please join us in the campaign to celebrate FOIA and help ensure that the nation can celebrate FOIA’s 50th anniversary with a stronger and better statute that enhances the public’s right to know and ability to hold officials accountable.
Each day the campaign will feature FOIA stories or issues that correspond loosely to the categories below. Look for tweets from these groups – and others – using#50DaysOfFOIA:
Week 1: FOIA stories (successes, part I)
May 15-21 OpenTheGovernment.org @OpenTheGov
Week 2: FOIA Tech Advances
May 22-28 MuckRock @MuckRock
Week 3: FOIA Champions
May 29-June 4 American Society of News Editors @NewsEditors
Week 4: FOIA stories (bad/obstructive agency responses)
June 5-11 The National Security Archive @NSArchive
Week 5: FOIA Resources
June 12-18 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press @RCFP
Week 6: Reform ideas (in the legislation)
June 19-25 Sunlight Foundation @SunFoundation
Week 7: FOIA stories (successes, part II)
June 26-July 2 The Sunshine in Government Initiative @sunshineingov
We invite participants to share these stories widely on social media – and to tweet your own contributions.
To participate in the campaign, follow the #50DaysOfFOIA and #FixFOIAby50hashtags.