Freedom of Information
in South Carolina
It’s your right to know.
Read the S.C. Freedom of Information Act
South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1978 and has been revised several times including the law’s most recent changes in 2015. The preface to the law says, “The General Assembly finds that it is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions that are reached in public activity and in formulation of public policy.”
Public Official's Guide to Compliance with the S.C. Freedom of Information Act
This guide includes the full text of South Carolina’s FOIA, as well as a section-by-section plain language explanation of the law. It is designed as an easy-to-use guide for public officials, journalists and citizens.
Do you have questions about what is or isn’t a public record or open meeting? SCPA members with an FOI question may contact the FOI Hotline. Here’s how.
How to file an FOI request
How to respond to an FOI request
SCPA offers nine simple tips for government officials on how to respond when an FOI request is received from the public or the news media.
Citizen's Guide to the S.C. FOIA
The Freedom of Information Act isn’t just for journalists. Here’s an easy-to-understand summary of South Carolina’s FOIA with answers to frequently asked questions.
What to do when they close court or a meeting
Journalists, bookmark this page, which tells you what to say when they close court or a meeting (contains law and court citations).
S.C. FOIA News & Updates
SCPA shares news related to the FOIA on our Facebook page daily. We also offer a weekly recap of FOI news and analysis in our eBulletin newsletter. If you have FOI news to share, contact Jen Madden.
SCPA's FOI Initiatives
The S.C. Press Association’s FOI Committee deals with various open government issues and initiatives, sets long-term FOI objectives and priorities, and advocates for open government in South Carolina. The committee also oversees the FOI Fund, which helps SCPA member newspapers fight open government battles. Learn more.
SCPA offers free on-site and virtual FOI training for your newspaper staff. Throughout the year, we also offer various in-person and web-based sessions on the FOIA for our members. Our FOI experts frequently speak at public events about open government in the Palmetto State. Contact us if you need help lining up a speaker.
Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community, will take place March 12-18, 2023. Please help us promote the public’s right to know. The national toolkit also has some great resources.
Open Government Guide for South Carolina
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. South Carolina’s information was prepared by SCPA Attorney Jay Bender and updated in 2018 by SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The RCFP is one of the major sources of information on what’s happening in media law and publishes News Media and Law, a comprehensive examination of media law issues and cases.
National Freedom of Information Coalition
This umbrella organization for the state freedom of information groups holds a yearly conference to discuss problems in the states. Their website provides contact information for all state FOI groups and other related links. SCPA’s FOI Committee is the NFOIC’s affiliate for the Palmetto State.