Right To Know Policy

On January 1, 2009, a new Right to Know Law (the "RTKL") took effect in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under this statute, public records of the City of Pittsburgh are generally available to citizens who request them.

The following outlines the basic provisions of the RTKL and the procedures for making a request for records:


The Right to Know Law defines a public record as information, regardless of physical form, which documents a transaction or activity of the City, and that is created, received or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business or activity of the City. A record is NOT a public record if:

  • It is exempt from disclosure under Section 708(b) of the RTKL; or
  • It is exempt from disclosure under any other Federal of State law, or regulation or judicial order or decree; or
  • It is protected by a privilege.

Generally, public records are to be open for inspection or duplication in accordance with the RTKL. Records are to be provided in the medium requested if they exist in that medium. Otherwise, they are to be provided in the medium in which they exist. The RTKL does not require the City to give computer access to any requester.

When responding to a request, the City is not required to create a record that does not presently exist. Nor is the City required to compile, maintain, format, or organize a record in a manner in which the City does not currently maintain, format, or organize the record.