Newtown photos barred: Did lawmakers balance privacy, public's right to know? (+video)
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) applauded passage of the bill, saying in a statement Wednesday that “those who lose loved ones to violence have a right to protect themselves against further anguish.” He also acknowledged that the issue requires “all of us to balance deeply held beliefs and important public policy values.”
The new law will create an exemption to the state’s Freedom of Information Act, preventing the release of photos, videos, or other visual images depicting homicide victims (not just those at Sandy Hook) if the records “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the victim or the victim’s surviving family members.”
It also puts a one-year moratorium on release of audio recordings that describe the condition of victims. The law does not include protection for 911 recordings.
The language of the law seems overly broad to Mr. Paulson, who says these kinds of restrictions are “dangerous” because “the public has a very real interest in understanding how fellow citizens have lost their lives.”
It’s not the first time a state legislature has acted to restrict access to public records in the name of privacy rights.