ABBEVILLE, S.C. -- Abbeville County’s new ordinance dealing with how the county responds to emergencies is being criticized for possibly preventing reporters from gathering news and violating public records laws.
The Index-Journal of Greenwood reports the ordinance prohibits anyone responding to the scene of an emergency if they don’t have proper training. South Carolina Press Association attorney Jay Bender says that part of the law is unconstitutional if officials use it to keep reporters away.
Another part of the ordinance prohibits responders to an emergency from distributing photographs, recordings or other items from an emergency scene,
Bender says photos taken by officials like deputies or firefighters are public records and the government can’t pass a broad law prohibiting their release