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Freedom of Information Day

On Freedom of Information Day, exercise your right to access information and stay informed about important issues that impact our society.
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Category
Federal
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When it is?
March 16
Location Icon
Country
United States
Introduction

Get ready to celebrate the power of knowledge and transparency on Freedom of Information Day on March 16! This special day was established in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to commemorate the birthday of James Madison, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution". It's a day that celebrates the public's right to access information from their government and promotes open communication and accountability. So let's take a moment to appreciate this important aspect of our democracy and exercise our right to seek out information. Happy Freedom of Information Day!

History of Freedom of Information Day

Freedom of Information Day Dates

Freedom of Information Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1743</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Birth of James Madison</div><div class='timeline-text'>James Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution" and a staunch advocate of openness in government, was born on this day.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1791</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Amendment Ratification</div><div class='timeline-text'>The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, protecting the freedom of speech and the press, is ratified.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1966</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Freedom of Information Act</div><div class='timeline-text'>US Congress passes the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, giving the public access to governmental records.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1989</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Establishment of Freedom of Information Day</div><div class='timeline-text'>Freedom of Information Day is officially recognized nationwide, celebrated on the birthday of James Madison.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1996</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Electronic Freedom of Information Act</div><div class='timeline-text'>Congress passes the Electronic Freedom of Information Act, expanding FOIA provisions to include electronic and digitized information.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2007</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Open Government Directive</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Open Government Directive is issued by the Obama Administration to bring about greater transparency in federal agencies.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Freedom of Information Day

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Host an information fair</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Organize an information fair where different organizations and government agencies can set up booths and provide information to the public. This is a great way to promote transparency and educate people about their rights to access information.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a seminar or workshop</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Look for seminars or workshops related to freedom of information and attend them. You can learn more about this important topic and also connect with others who are passionate about promoting transparency and accountability.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Share information on social media</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Spread awareness about Freedom of Information Day by sharing informative posts on social media. This is a great way to reach a wider audience and encourage others to exercise their right to access information.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Write a letter to your government representatives</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Use this day as an opportunity to reach out to your local government representatives and express the importance of transparency and access to information. You can also suggest ways to improve the current systems in place.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Organize a film screening</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Host a free screening of a documentary or film that highlights the importance of freedom of information. This can be a great way to engage and educate your community about this vital right.</p></div></div>

Why Freedom of Information Day is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It promotes transparency in government</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Freedom of Information Day highlights the importance of transparent and open government. By giving citizens access to information, it allows for accountability and ensures that those in power are held responsible for their decisions and actions.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It empowers citizens</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>On this day, people are encouraged to use their right to access information about their government. This empowers citizens to be more informed and engaged in their communities, allowing them to better participate in the democratic process.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates an important law</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Freedom of Information Day also commemorates the passing of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1966, which is a crucial piece of legislation that guarantees public access to government documents. It serves as a reminder of our constitutional right to know what our government is doing on our behalf.</p></div></div>

5 Intriguing Facts for Freedom of Information Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>FOIA Requests can be made by anyone</h3><p class='facts-content'>Irrespective of citizenship, any individual or organization can make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, making it a truly universal tool.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>There's a fee associated with FOIA requests</h3><p class='facts-content'>While requesting information is a democratic right, there might be a nominal fee associated with searching, copying and reviewing the requested documents under FOIA.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>FOIA covers all federal agencies</h3><p class='facts-content'>The Freedom of Information Act applies to all federal departments and agencies, including the executive branch of the U.S government, independent regulatory agencies, and government-controlled corporations. However, it does not apply to parts of the executive office of the President or Congress.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Exceptions exist for FOIA requests </h3><p class='facts-content'>While FOIA promotes transparency, not all information is available for access. There are nine exemptions that protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>There's a specific timeline for responses</h3><p class='facts-content'>Federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within 20 business days from their receipt of the request, ensuring timely access to information.</p></div></div>

Freedom of Information Day FAQs

When is Freedom of Information Day?

Freedom of Information Day is celebrated on March 16th every year. In 2024 Freedom of Information Day will occur on a Saturday.

Freedom of Information Day Dates

Year
Date
Day

2023

Mar 16

Thursday

2024

Mar 16

Saturday

2025

Mar 16

Sunday

2026

Mar 16

Monday

2027

Mar 16

Tuesday

Federal Holidays