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Making requests #

Do I have the right to make a request? #

Every Liberian citizen, journalist, NGO, Student, Academic or business has the right to request information from the Liberian government or Liberian public authorities.

I'm not sure which authority to make my request to, how can I find out? #

You might not know who you should ask for information from, so here are a few tips:

  • Browse or search InfoLib looking for similar requests to yours.
  • When you've found an authority you think might have the information, use the "home page" link on the right hand side of their page to check what they do on their website.
  • Contact the authority by phone or email to ask if they hold the kind of information you're after.
  • Don't worry excessively about getting the right authority. If you get it wrong, they ought to advise you who to make the request to instead.
  • If you've got a thorny case, please contact us for help.
You're missing the public authority that I want to request from! #

Please contact us with the name of the public authority and, if you can find it, their contact email address for Freedom of Information requests.

What can I do to ensure my request has the best chance of getting answered?#

Please put in your request only what is needed so that someone can easily identify what information you are asking for.

If you want information to support an argument or campaign, Freedom of Information is a powerful tool. Although you may not use this site to run your campaign, we encourage you to use it to get the information you need. We also encourage to run your campaign elsewhere seeking advice from organisations such as LFIC or iLab who can support you.

Does it cost me anything to make a request?#

The search for and provision of requested information shall be done free of charge to the requester, but a public entity may charge such amount as is necessary to cover actual cost of photocopying, transcribing, scanning or other forms of reproduction.

How quickly will I get a response? #

By law, public authorities must respond to requests.

The law states that every authority must respond within 30 days.

InfoLib will email you if you don't get a timely response. You can then send the public authority a message to remind them, and tell them if they are breaking the law.

Once you receive a response you will be given the chance to “classify” your answer according to a list of categories. If you are not sure how to do this, we will help you.

What if I never get a response?#

There are several things you can do if you never get a response.

  • Sometimes there has been a genuine problem and the authority never received the request. It is worth telephoning the authority and politely checking that they received the request. You should mention it was sent to them by email.
  • If they have not received it, the problem could be due to "spam filters". Refer the authority to the measures in the answer 'I can see a request on InfoLib, but we never got it by email!' in the FOI officers section of this help.
  • If you're still having no luck, then you can ask for an internal review, and then complain to the Information Commissioner about the request. Read our page 'Unhappy about the response you got?'. There is also a telephone number on that page so you can phone the office of the Information Commissioner if you need to.
What if I'm not satisfied with the response? #
If you didn't get the information you asked for, or you didn't get it in time, then read our page 'Unhappy about the response you got?'.
Can I request information about myself? #

No. Requests made using InfoLib are public, made under the Freedom of Information Act, and cannot help you find information about a private individual.

If you would like to know what information a public authority holds about yourself, you should make a private request using Data Protection law.

If you see that somebody has included personal information, perhaps unwittingly, in a request, please contact us immediately so we can remove it.

I'd like to keep my request secret! (At least until I publish my story) #

InfoLib is currently only designed for public requests. All responses that we receive are automatically published on the website for anyone to read.

You should contact the public authority directly if you would like to make a request in private.

Can I make the same to request to lots of authorities, e.g. all councils? #
We ask you to first send a test version of your request to a few authorities. Their responses will help you improve the wording of your request, so that you get the best information when you send the request to all of the authorities. There is currently no automated system for sending the request to the other authorities, you must copy and paste it by hand.
I made a request off the site, how do I upload it to the archive?#

InfoLib is an archive of requests made through the site, and does not try to be an archive of all FOI requests. We'll never support uploading other requests, like those made by an individual not through InfoLib. For one thing, we wouldn't be able to verify that other responses actually came from the authority. If this really matters to you, you can always channel your request through an LFIC office and they will archive it on to InfoLib on your behalf. So, if your request has come through one of LFIC's network then uploading it will be dealt with by the representative you spoke to. This person will also let you know if and when you get the information.

How do you moderate request annotations? #

Annotations on InfoLib are to help people get the information they want, or to give them pointers to places they can go to help them act on it. We reserve the right to remove anything else.

Endless, political discussions are not allowed. Post a link to a suitable forum or campaign site elsewhere.

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