Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are a staple of investigative journalism and central to some of the biggest news stories of our generation.
For inexperienced journalists especially, this may seem like a daunting task. But it is a basic right to request information from a public authority. Still, knowing the procedure and basic etiquette can take some getting used to.
Paul Gibbons has spent 26 years in information management, working in the Houses of Parliament, Greater London Authority and as an independent consultant. He also runs the FOI Man blog, where he has posted a guide on making FOI requests.
He urged those making requests to be polite, stating: "Try not to assume that the person reading your request is determined to avoid answering your question(s). It's likely that members of your own family, perhaps some of your friends, are public servants. Would you feel content to send them your request?"
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