Feeds

Journos can tweet from UK courts: But who's a journo?

If you aren't a hack, you have to ask

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Journalists will be able to tweet freely from courts says new guidance from the UK Judiciary, but members of the public will still have to ask the judge's permission to be able to use Twitter in a court-room.

Before yesterday, journalists had to be licensed before tweeting the proceedings of a trial. Now they can "Twitter as much [they] wish" as the Lord Chief Justice announced yesterday.

Tweeting is only allowed from court cases that are public, and are under no reporting restrictions - ruling out some Family and Criminal cases for example. Photography is still strictly banned. In what may be fiddly to enforce the guidance states that: "Any equipment which has photographic capability must not have that function activated". Sound recordings are also prohibited.

Those not tweeting or using their phone for "live text-based communication" have to turn their phone off. Texting, personal emails and phone calls are still strictly prohibited. And if too many people are tweeting and it's interfering with the court's own equipment, the judge may limit the number of devices allowed in court.

A member of the public can get permission to tweet by asking court staff to pass on their request the judge. The judge will make the decision based on whether the application may interfere with the proper administration of justice, the guidance states.

What is a journalist?

The guidance document offers no information on what the courts consider to be the distinguishing features of a journalist. Does the work experience kid on the local newspaper count? Student journos? Local bloggers? We have asked for some official clarification.

In the meantime, The Register understands that the new guidance is intended to increase the reporting of court cases in accordance with the principle of open justice. We understand that who is reading the tweet-reports would be relevant. If in doubt, the would-be tweeter should make a request to the judge.

Laws on contempt of court will be applied to the tweets as they would be to articles published about the proceedings regardless of whether the tweeter is a journalist or member or the public.

The use of social media in law courts is a hot area. A juror was recently jailed for 8 months for Facebooking an acquitted defendant in a case in June - and a furore over Twitter users breaking privacy super-injunctions drove the Attorney General to threaten tweeters with lawsuits. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?