Legal Q&A: Right to inspect (March 2018)

Q: Do you have to be a member of the press to inspect incident reports, the minutes from a public meeting, booking/detention information, or all documents that were distributed to or reviewed by a public official during a public meeting?

Taylor Smith
By SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith

A: No. This inspection right under SC FOIA (specifically, S.C. Code of Laws Section 30-4-30(D)) belongs to any member of the public. Journalists should work diligently to correct the misconception that FOIA is an exclusive tool of the mass media.

Taylor M. Smith IV is a media lawyer who represents the S.C. Press Association and its newspapers. As one of our FOI/Legal Hotline attorneys, he is available to answer your open government, legal and libel questions. Call (803) 750-9561.

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