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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.