The following is a statement from the Connecticut Pro Chapter of SPJ, regarding the FOI Commission decision on the Newtown 911 calls on Sept. 25.
We’re pleased the FOI Commission upheld its hearing officer’s report demanding release of the 911 calls from Newtown. The decision was appropriate, and reflected the FOI Act requirements for public disclosure.
If the case is appealed, as expected, we urge the higher courts to come to the same conclusion: That 911 calls are important public records.
The 911 calls surrounding an incident allow the community and the press to assess official response, and to try to gain a better understanding about what happened.
The decision of whether material is appropriate for publication or broadcast should not be made by the government; it should remain with the journalists, guided by the various journalistic codes of ethics.
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About Connecticut SPJ
Since 1966, the Connecticut Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists has been dedicated to encouraging journalism.