Saturday, March 13, 2010

States push to exempt 911 calls from public records

"A decade ago, reporters could expect to have access to 911 calls to file accurate stories, gain insight into crimes and monitor emergency response time -- but more and more states are pushing for that to change.

Alabama, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida are among the states that have proposed legislation to limit the media's access to emergency-call recordings. The specifics of the bills are different but the intentions are the same. Open-government advocates say the trend is a worrying shift away from transparency.

"By examining 911 calls we can see how the public agencies are doing," said David Hudson from the First Amendment Foundation. "If you close those records, the public certainly loses the ability to monitor government agencies."

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