Clay Calvert Comments on the Right to Privacy vs. the Public’s Right to Know
Clay Calvert, director of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, was quoted in “Judge Orders Las Vegas Review-Journal to Destroy Autopsy Report” written by Rachel Crosby, B.S. Journalism 2015, and published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Feb. 9.
The article focuses on a judge’s order to the newspaper and the Associated Press to destroy a copy of an autopsy report for an Oct. 1 mass-shooting victim, siding with the privacy concerns of the victim’s widow. Calvert claims that the judge’s ruling constitutes prior restraint on a publication, which is “presumptively unconstitutional.”
“The newspaper lawfully obtained the autopsy files in question with information redacted already to protect the privacy of the deceased,” he said. “The judge has to balance the emotional anguish that the family might suffer against the public’s right to know details of an incredibly significant event that affects all of Las Vegas as well as Nevada. But in this case, because no images are involved and its merely data — factual data — the privacy interests are significantly reduced here and the balance would tip in favor of the public’s right to know.”