Uphold journalists’ right to inspect newsworthy footage from surveillance cameras, Brechner Center brief urges

Attorneys for the Brechner Center and a coalition of open-government groups are urging Pennsylvania’s highest court to reaffirm that journalists are entitled to view video from school surveillance cameras that capture newsworthy information.

A brief filed Wednesday with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court argues that footage from security cameras cannot be withheld on the grounds of a federal privacy law that makes “education records” confidential.

The statute — the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA — is widely misapplied by schools and colleges to withhold records that are neither educational nor confidential, says the friend-of-the-court brief, filed by attorneys Mark Bailen and Chad Rutkowski of Baker Hostetler LLP. (Read more…)