Law, Justice and Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘court reporting’

Court reporting in Germany

In Journalism, Law on April 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

By Professor Lorna Woods

Of recent months, the issue of restrictions on the reporting of details in court cases has been the subject of some debate in the UK, with issues ranging from TV cameras in court through to anonymity and even super injunctions.

The UK is not alone in needing to balance the conflicting interests of public justice and freedom of expression on the one hand and other interests in the fair administration of justice and individuals’ reputational and privacy rights on the other.

This issue has come before the German courts recently in respect of a rape case involving a celebrity, in which sexual practices read out in court were then reported by a media publisher and a website operator.

The court upheld the celebrity’s claim for an injunction on the basis that, in the balancing act between freedom of expression and privacy, the reporting on the case was salacious; the sexual details reported had little connection with the alleged crime.

It is the focus on the sexual details unconnected with public interest in knowing about the crime or judicial proceedings that seem to have been fatal to the freedom of expression claim.  It seems, however, that the German appeal court distinguished the revelation of facts in court, where the numbers of people attending and hearing the evidence are limited, to the unlimited exposure in the media.

On this basis, the court held that public court proceedings did not give the press the right to report on everything that was said in court.  This distinction is unlikely to be workable in an environment where there are cameras in court, specifically if there is live broadcast.

For a more detailed note (in English) of the cases, see: the Merlin newsletter, IRIS 2012-4:1/17

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Justice Wide Open: courts and legal information in the digital age

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

On Wednesday 29 February 2012, academics, lawyers and journalists gathered to discuss open justice in the digital age at City University London.

The programme included context and history, issues for the media and an academic perspective. Speakers included: Geoffrey Robertson QC; Hugh Tomlinson QC; Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; and Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds.

Later in the spring the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism will be releasing a set of papers from the event and also work on practical recommendations to take forward. Please contact judith.townend.1@city.ac.uk if you would like to be involved or have suggestions.

In the meantime, here are some links to reports elsewhere, tweets, photos and audio.

Audio recordings & slides

  • Session one, with Hugh Tomlinson QC, David Goldberg, information rights academic and activist; and Emily Allbon, City Law School librarian [slides] (chair: Professor Howard Tumber).
  • Session 2, with Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; Adam Wagner, barrister; William Perrin, founder of Talk About Local [slides] (chair: Judith Townend).
  • Session 3. An academic perspective, with Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds [slides] and Dr Lawrence McNamara, Reader in Law and ESRC/AHRC Research Fellow, University of Reading (chair: Professor Ian Loveland).