Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)


The Virginia Freedom of Information Act - Rights & Responsibilities

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees. A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies. FOIA states that its purpose is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly. The following is a summary of your rights and responsibilities under FOIA, for more information, please see Teresa Riggins.

Your FOIA Rights

Making a Request for Records

Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request

Commonly Used Exemptions

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure, including:

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