Georgia

4. Other.

Public university foundation records are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.

I. Introduction: History & Background

Since its enactment in 1990, the Georgia Supreme Court has repeatedly enforced Georgia's qualified reporter's privilege to protect the news media. Additionally, the Court has recognized a right of automatic appeal for non-party reporters in the event a trial court orders disclosure of newsgathering information notwithstanding an objection under the privilege. Given the established law regarding the privilege, the news media routinely prevails on those occasions that a litigant seeks to compel information from a non-party reporter obtained in the process of newsgathering.

D. Are segregable portions of records containing exempt material available?

The Act expressly "directs a narrow construction of its exclusions, exempting 'only that portion of a public record to which an exclusion is directly applicable.'" Board of Regents v. Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 259 Ga. 214, 215-16, 378 S.E.2d 305 (1989) (emphasis in original) (quoting what is now O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(g)). See also Hardaway Co. v. Rives, 262 Ga. 631, 422 S.E.2d 854 (1992) (same standard applies when non-disclosure is sought based on exemptions found outside the Act).

5. Other.

Actions contesting a zoning decision of a local governing authority must be commenced "within the time allowed by law for appeal of such zoning decision." O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(b).

C. Limitations on use of footage

Overview

Georgia

Generally in the superior and state courts of Georgia, the judge may exercise discretion and require pooled coverage, which would allow only one still photographer, one television camera and attendant, and one radio or tape recorder outlet and attendant to cover the proceeding. U.S.C.R. 22 (c). Audio recordings of the jury foreperson's announcement of the verdict, statements or questions to the judge may be made, though there are some limitations on use of pictures of the jury. U.S.C.R. 22(I).

b. Notice.

The Act requires every agency to make information regarding the time, place and dates of its regular meetings available to the general public by posting a notice containing the information in a conspicuous place at the agency's regular meeting place. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d). See, e.g., Slaughter v. Brown, 269 Ga. App. 211, 603 S.E.2d 706 (2004) (school board violated Act when it posted incorrect information in the wrong location).

B. Separation orders

Because Georgia's reporter's privilege has effectively precluded the use of reporters as witnesses, there is not any statutory or case law addressing separation or sequestration orders when reporters are called as witnesses in trials that they are covering. However, it is well-established under Georgia law that a trial court has discretion to lift or modify the rule of sequestration with respect to witnesses. Accordingly, consistent the reporter's privilege, trial courts should exercise that discretion to modify separation orders.

b. Need to address fee issues.

The Act does not specifically require that the requesting party address fee issues in the request.

G. Reporter's personal observations

A reporter's personal observations are protected by the privilege so long as they occurred as part of the gathering or dissemination of the news. See O.C.G.A. § 24-9-30 (affording protection to "any information, document, or item obtained or prepared in the gathering or dissemination of news"). See also Vance v. Krause, Civil Action No. 90-1687-5 (DeKalb County Superior Court, Nov.

4. Public matter message on private hardware.

A public matter message on private hardware is subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.