England’s Lord Chief Justice says reporter twittering in court is okay
This is an interesting move and guidance by the Lord Chief Justice of England when it comes to the use of Twitter during active court proceedings. Media organizations and journalists will first have to apply for permission to use social media tools, like Twitter, on a case-by-case basis; however non-journalists may be barred its use to prevent possible distractions and limit interference with the courts’ own recording equipment.
Judge issued interim guidance on the use of social media, pending a public consultation involving the judiciary, prosecutors, lawyers, the media and “interested members of the public”. The guidance applies only to courts in England and Wales.
It follows a district judge’s decision to allow the tweeting of a bail hearing for Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks chief, earlier this month. Assange faces extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.
Lord Judge had already been considering the issue, which he highlighted at a lecture in Belfast last month.Under the guidance, anyone wanting to tweet from a courtroom will first need the permission of the judge, who will consider the risk posed to justice.
This would be at its highest in criminal trials where witnesses who are out of court would be able to find out what has already happened.