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Freedom of information refers to a citizen's right to access information that is held by the state. In many countries, this freedom is supported as a constitutional right.
In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act allows for the disclosure of government documents and previously unreleased information that falls under the U.S. government's control. This act was amended in 1996 to include the Electronic Freedom of Information Act, which states that government agencies must make certain types of records electronically available to the public. This is designed to broaden access to government information.
Freedom of information was established for transparency, government accountability, education and general public protection against mismanagement and corruption. More than 70 countries with government representation approved the original freedom of information legislation.
Related human rights include freedom of expression, data protection (privacy), freedom of association and right to development.