Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.Good for CNN for their challenge of this attempted restraint on media coverage. The increased military presence throughout New Orleans appeared to be emboldening efforts to curtail reporting, as reported by Brian Williams for example (see Sept. 7th entry).
Joint Task Force Katrina "has no plans to bar, impede or prevent news media from their news gathering and reporting activities in connection with the deceased Hurricane Katrina victim recovery efforts," said Col. Christian E. deGraff, representing the task force.
And good for the federal authorities in backing down immediately. They ultimately recognized that this ban effort was completlely inappropriate and would not withstand legal scrutiny.
Perhaps CNN's lawsuit will have an important effect in chastening all government actors involved in the aftermath from pursuing any further limitations on full, accessible coverage of the recovery and rebuilding efforts.