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ThuMar 16

Freedom of Information Day – March 16, 2023

Freedom of Information Day is observed every year on March 16 on the birthday of former President James Madison. The day ensures the public is aware of all the government’s information and provided with the necessary information. The information the government can hold on to may include the decisions it makes, the facts it discovers, and sometimes private information on people for surveillance purposes. Under the Freedom of Information Act, an individual can demand the information they want by requesting it, and this information is provided free of cost or with a minimal fee.

History of Freedom of Information Day

We don’t really know when Freedom of Information Day was first celebrated. However, the day is observed on James Madison’s birthday, the fourth President of the U.S., born on March 16, 1751. He is remembered as the “Father of the Constitution” who drafted and promoted the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) was passed on July 4, 1966, and came into effect a year later. The date was chosen since Madison was an advocate for the freedom of data and individual rights to obtain the correct information. This day serves as a yearly reminder of the significance of transparency within the American government and the public’s right to information.

The right to information was the fruit of the labor of several people who dedicated their entire lives fighting for it. Freedom of Information Day celebrates the idea of free information, giving more power and transparency to people, and making democracies stronger. Every person has an equal role in the nation’s governance, which means that everyone’s vote is important. The same fact applies to freedom of information. Every citizen deserves to know the facts related to the government. This helps people make important decisions and ensure that their government and elected representatives serve them well.

Freedom of Information Day timeline

1766
First Freedom of Information Act

Sweden passes the world’s first F.O.I. law (Freedom of the Press Act).

1789
France Implements Freedom of Information

The French Declaration of Rights of Man allows citizens to review the government’s expenditures.

1966
America Implements Freedom of Information

The U.S. enacted its Freedom of Information Act.

1982
More Countries Adopt Freedom of Information

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand implement their Freedom of Information Acts.

Freedom of Information Day FAQs

What is the meaning of freedom of information?

Freedom of information means that the public has the right to access information pertinent to their interests. The U.N. recognizes it as a fundamental human right. 

What are the disadvantages of Freedom of Information?

The main threat is to national security, which can be internal or external. Certain information could be used to incite strong public disturbance and riots, which could possibly destabilize the government. 

Why should we have freedom of information?

Freedom of Information contributes to government openness and accountability and represents an important instrument to prevent and combat corruption. It can also help increase government efficiency and responsiveness, along with civic trust.

How To Observe Freedom of Information Day

  1. Gather information

    Gather information on your rights, the current political scenario in your area, the latest bill passed, and more. Try to analyze how the information is useful to you.

  2. Share information

    You can share information by having get-togethers and spreading what you know. Holding discussions and debates will also help you learn more facts from others.

  3. Take it online

    Social media empowers the masses with information and knowledge. Remember to get your online information only from reputable sources before sharing information.

5 Facts About The Freedom Of Information Act That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. President Johnson didn’t approve of the Act

    He signed the bill into law but was not a supporter of the Freedom of Information Act.

  2. The Act wasn’t initially considered a success

    The first amendment to the law occurred in 1974 after Watergate.

  3. There’s an Act for online information too

    The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 allows for the freedom of online information.

  4. The Act doesn’t apply to everyone

    The F.O.I.A. does not apply to Congress, the Judiciary, or the White House’s central offices.

  5. Obtaining information is a fairly easy task

    You can submit requests by mail, fax, email, or online forms.

Why Freedom of Information Day is Important

  1. It’s our democratic right

    The right to information is every democratic citizen’s right. Freedom of Information Day reminds us of this invaluable power and teaches us how to make the best use of it.

  2. It holds governments responsible

    The freedom to correct information allows citizens to hold their governments responsible. Freedom of Information Day is a great reminder to hold your government accountable.

  3. It makes us more aware

    Access to information makes us aware and enables us to make decisions that favor all citizens and the nation. When we know more, we can do more!

Freedom of Information Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 16Thursday
2024March 16Saturday
2025March 16Sunday
2026March 16Monday
2027March 16Tuesday

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