Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights adopted in 1948 declares that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The U.S. Freedom of Information Act 1966 (FOIA) allows any person to request any agency record for any reason. This model has been copied worldwide and celebrated as a structural
necessity in a real democracy. The Freedom of Information Act of the United States empowers an individual, groups or corporate organizations to request and obtain agency’s records without hindrance. It also stipulates that the public has presumptive‟ access to agency’s records, unless the record requested falls within any of the Act’s nine
categorized exceptions. This paper examined freedom of information in the United States with a view of drawing lessons from the US model. The paper adopted the doctrinal research methodology. The findings of this paper revealed that the FOIA is “an indispensable tool in protecting the people’s right to know.” The fact that more than one hundred countries and all fifty states have enacted their own freedom of information laws, many of them based on the federal FOIA, would seem to support these claims. This paper therefore, recommended that the Nigerian government and policy makers learn from the US by making sure that the media is absolutely free to hold government accountable like the US where there is no Ministry of Information, there are no national newspapers, and all media houses are owned privately.
Keywords: Freedom of Information, United States of America, Lessons for Nigeria.