The coalition includes CNN, the Texas Tribune and many of the largest news outlets in the state and nation.
The lawsuit, filed in Austin state court, stems from Texas public information law, which allows news organizations and members of the public to sue for records. News organizations cited numerous prior requests for information and the “resulting failure to release public documents regarding this heinous tragedy.”
“The Texas Department of Public Safety has provided inconsistent accounts of how law enforcement responded to the Uvalde tragedy, and its lack of transparency has sparked suspicion and frustration in a community that is still dealing with grief and shock,” said Laura Lee Prather, a First Amendment attorney at Haynes Boone who represents the plaintiffs. “DPS has denied numerous requests from these news outlets, even though it is clear under Texas law that the public has a right to access these important public records. We ask that the court grant our request so the people of Texas can understand the truth about What Happened.”
The lawsuit notes that the Public Safety Department “selectively disclosed” information, but denied further requests for records. Thus, the news organizations want the court to order the department “to produce all relevant documents”.
Other participating news outlets include ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones, The Washington Post, and ProPublica; local TV and media companies Gannett, Graham Media, Scripps and TEGNA
Nicole Carroll, editor of Gannett’s USA Today, told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” last month that the coalition is needed because “we need to get to the truth. And we’re fighting for these records so we can get the truth”. .”
Officials “blocked us” and changed their stories, she pointed out. “We were misled, documents were withheld.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story included news outlets that are not part of the lawsuit.