International Law

Top UK Judge OKs Reporters' Use of Twitter, Texts & E-Mail in Court

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Journalists should routinely be allowed to use Twitter and send texts and e-mail from smart phones from courtrooms while covering legal news, the most senior judge in the United Kingdom said today in a note providing guidance to others.

The action by Igor Judge, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, followed recent disagreement among U.K. jurists about whether such communications were appropriate during bail hearings for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, reports Bloomberg.

“Use of an unobtrusive, hand-held, virtually silent piece of modern equipment for the purposes of simultaneous reporting of court proceedings to the outside world is generally unlikely to interfere with the proper administration of justice,” Judge writes.

However, judges will still have discretion to approve use of social media on a case-by-case basis, and the note suggests that it may routinely still be banned as far as non-journalists are concerned, reports the Guardian.

Additional and related coverage: “Social Media Is New Norm, But Courts Still Grappling With Whether to Let Cameras In” “Microblogging of Conn. Murder Trial Has Some Media-Watchers Atwitter” “Lawyer Claims Trial Tweets Created Circus Atmosphere in Conn. Triple Murder Case”

CNN: “Judge allows Twitter into English, Welsh courtrooms”

Updated at 3:55 p.m. to link to CNN article.

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