Have an FOI Question? Ask!

via freedominfo.org

via freedominfo.org

If I ever have a qeustion regarding the validity of a possible FOI request, I always call the FOIC for Connecticut and ask.

I like to have everything that I want to FOI in mind before I call, that way I’m not wasting anyone’s time.

I think it’s better to go into a request by telling whoever it is that you have the support of the commission itself.

It’s technically threatening, but it gets them thinking. It’s good to have that to fall back on because people will give you a hard time. They always do and I’m not sure why.

Just because I’m a journalist, doesn’t mean that the public couldn’t request it themselves. I don’t get why many people get so defensive when you request something.

So, by having the “go-ahead” from the FOIC you can expect to put whoever you are requesting in their place. Or you can try to, at least.

I don’t care how simple the question may be, you’ll want to ask the FOIC in your state. It’ll give you more confidence when you make the request and help to teach you more about FOI laws.

As a journalist, FOI laws are your best friend. I haven’t read all of them, obviously, but I know my way around them well enough to be able to find what I need. I’d recommend anyone to go through the FOI laws and, at least, get familiar with them. It can’t hurt and, if you know your stuff, you can quell any intimidation from officials instantly.

It’s really nothing against town or district officials. I’m not trying to come off as a badass reporter here. I’m just simply saying that if whatever I’m looking for is FOI-able, I’m going to ask for it if I need it.

Most recently, I had a town official look at me at meeting and tell me that I couldn’t FOI something.

At first, I was questioning myself and second-guessing if I really couldn’t FOI what the said official proceeded to read out-loud.

I sat on my thoughts for almost a week before I called the FOIC, talked to a FOI attorney and found out that I could FOI what the said official said I couldn’t.

The attorney actually laughed out loud when I told her what the said official said. And, as I said before, it gave me confidence.

And I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t FOI the said official.

I’m still thinking about it, though.

Jonathan

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