March 16 is National Freedom of Information Day.
Justice Louis Brandeis famously said that,
“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” … “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”
The Freedom of Information Act was enacted on July 4, 1966, to allow citizens access to records documenting what the government is doing. National Freedom of Information Day is celebrated in March, however, as part of “Sunshine Week.”
The United States is unique in the access that its citizens have to the workings of their government. The Freedom of Information Act is a powerful tool to do so. As the video shows, however, government agencies are not always forthcoming in the production of documents responding to requests.
- Why do you think the government has been so reluctant to respond to Mr. Shapiro?
- Do you think that the fact he is an animal rights activist makes a difference? Should it?
- How do you think citizens might respond to the refusal of the government to adhere to the law in such cases?
4, July. 1966, Freedom of Information Act Enacted [Digital image]. Retrieved from <historyandheadlines.com>.