The Right to Publish — FOIA obligations

Tonda Rush

Mar 1, 2021

Uniformed officers’ labor agreements cannot be used to bargain away a local government’s Freedom of Information obligations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in February.

National Newspaper Association joined New York publishers and others in a friend of the court brief by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press arguing that the FOI laws in New York should take precedence over labor agreements.

The case involved a decision by New York City to release some NYPD disciplinary records.

The court allowed records of minor infractions — like being late to work — to be withheld, but gave a local police accountability group the ability to appeal withholdings of records on more serious disciplines.