Freedom of information legal definition of freedom of information
freedom of information
Also found in: Acronyms
freedom of information laws which permit citizens to obtain information held by government. The UK first admitted the principle by virtue of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The legislation gives the right to request information from public authorities. It is intended to promote a culture of openness and accountability amongst public sector bodies, and facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do, and how they spend public money. It is achieved in two main ways. First, bodies subject to the scheme should initiate publication schemes to release information without being asked. Secondly, bodies subject to the scheme must respond to requests from persons in writing or other permanent form. A fee maybe charged. There is an obvious conflict with DATA PROTECTION law, but in the UK such problems may be resolved by the fact that the INFORMATION COMMISSIONER has been made responsible for both freedom of information and data protection.