The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

The Limits of FOIA

Presentation: Nicholson Baker vs the CIA

Nearly a decade ago, while investigating the possibility that the United States had used biological weapons in the Korean War, one of America’s most inventive and challenging novelists Nicholson Baker requested a series of Air Force documents under the provisions of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Thus began the odyssey of non-discovery and a frustrating paper trail in search of the truth which he documents in his new book Baseless. For Symposium Baker talks about the limits of FOIA and what can be done about them.

Panel debate: The Limits of FOIA

What are the limits of Freedom of Information legislation internationally, and is the game always worth the candle? How can investigators access “closed files” which fall outside the purview of FOIA legislation? Does it help to forge alliances with lawyers or friendly NGOs? Are there any other hidden strategies which can force information out in the public interest?

19 November 2020 – DAY 4 - The Limits of FOIA

Nicholson Baker vs. The CIA
Panel Discussion

Ian Cobain

Ian Cobain was born in Liverpool in 1960. He has been a journalist since the early 1980s and was an investigative reporter with the Guardian. He is now a senior reporter for Middle East Eye. His inquiries into the UK’s involvement in torture since 9/11 have won a number of major awards, including the Martha Gellhorn Prize and the Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism.

Jason Leopold

Jason Leopold is an Emmy nominated investigative reporter on the BuzzFeed News investigations team and a member of the reporting team named a 2018 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.

Nabiha Syed

Nabiha Syed is the President of The Markup, a new investigative journalism startup that explores how powerful actors use technology to reshape society. Previously, she was Vice President and Associate General Counsel at BuzzFeed.

Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker is the author of eighteen books, among them The Mezzanine, Human Smoke, The Anthologist, and Substitute. He’s written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books.

Paul O’Connor

Paul O'Connor is the manager at the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry, north of Ireland. The Centre has offices in Derry, Belfast and Armagh and also has a base in Dublin through its project Justice for the Forgotten and provides advocacy support to families bereaved through the political conflict on the island of Ireland.
  • 19 November 2020 16.00–17.30 Time zone: GMT
Time zone: GMT
Location: Main Stage - Online (via Hopin)
Collaborative Journalism
Freedom of Information
This event will be recorded