Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Phoenix news outlets drop effort to get photos and documents relating to forest fire that killed 19

In a case that pitted freedom of information against the claimed privacy interests of victims and their families, a pair of Phoenix news outlets dropped their lawsuit to obtain photographs and documents surrounding the June deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, Tamara Sone reports for The Daily Courier in Prescott, Ariz. "According to the announcement, the settlement will ensure that photos and documents connected with the case will not be released to any media outlets. While the sheriff's office did release some records to the media, Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher declined to release any photos of the scene due to privacy issues and possible trauma it may have caused family members."

The Arizona Republic and KPNX Channel 12, both owned by Gannett Co., "filed suit against the sheriff's office and Yavapai County medical examiner in late September for the release of records and photographs. The media company alleged that 'diagrams, some photographs and other documents' are public record under Arizona state law, and residents have a 'compelling interest' in learning what led to the death of the Hotshots. In addition to requesting records and photos of the burn area, the outlets asked for copies of the photos of the Hotshots' personal items." At one point, they were also looking for copies of autopsy photos and records, but later dropped that request. (Read more)

No comments: