The Federal Emergency Management Agency this week asked news agencies to refrain from airing or publishing photos of dead bodies, and excluded media from some recovery missions in New Orleans.
"The recovery of victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect and we have requested that no photographs of the deceased by made by the media," said FEMA in a statement.
CNN announced the suit Friday afternoon, saying that prohibition of airing the pictures would prevent full and fair coverage of the story.
"The government cannot be allowed to hinder the free flow of information," said CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. "That's what we say in the lawsuit."
CNN talk show host Larry King announced late Friday a federal judge in Texas issued the restraining order and scheduled a hearing for Saturday to hear arguments in the suit.