National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Know Your Rights: Alaska Public Records and Information Primer

Here’s how to be a citizen sleuth.

Alaska favors citizen involvement in — and oversight of — its government. State laws give citizens rights to a lot of information. But to get it, you need to know where to find it, and who to talk to.

As lawyer John McKay points out, “The legislature has said this is a fundamental right.”

Public records give everyday citizens the power to hold the powerful accountable.

“When we elect people, when we appoint people to run government for us, we are delegating authority to them but we are not giving them a right to decide what’s good for us and what’s not good for us to know,” McKay told KTUU in a recent interview.

Alaska’s public records law clearly states that public access to government information is “a fundamental right,” one that operates to “check and balance” the actions of elected and appointed officials, and to “maintain citizen control of government.”

“The government affects every aspect of our lives,” McKay said. (Read more…)