The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists is disappointed in the 3-2 decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court to deny KSTP-TV access to public information regarding public safety on a Metro Transit bus.
We agree with the dissenting opinion of Justice David Lillehaug and Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, who agreed with an earlier ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals and an administrative law judge at the Department of Administration, both of whom ruled the video footage was public.
We agree with the dissent that noted the majority ruling “misreads” the Data Practices Act and essentially would allow government agencies to change public data into private data at their whim or whenever it made them look bad.
As the case is being sent back to the Office of Administrative Hearings for clarification on some minute details, we are hopeful that office will see that the minor issues brought up by the majority opinion should be outweighed by the presumption of openness in Minnesota’s Data Practices Act.
We applaud KSTP for pursuing this important public access case to the highest levels of the Minnesota judiciary and pressing the case — not just for journalists, but for the public at large.
We’re troubled by Metro Transit’s intransigence in this case and its apparent willingness to fight until the end to keep the public in the dark about its taxpayer-funded activities.
For more information about this statement: