A top UK judge is to make it easier for journalists to use Twitter in courts in England and Wales, with the press no longer required to seek permission to live-tweet during court cases.
In new practice guidance notes released today, the Lord Chief Justice clarified the “use of live text-based forms of communication (including Twitter) from court, for the purposes of fair and accurate reporting”, which will only apply to reporters. Members of the public will still be required to have specific permission to use live text-based communications platforms in court, because it’s felt this would have an impact on witnesses and jurors involved in court cases.
Though this won’t mean that journalists will be able to illustrate their tweets with images and soundbites though – it will still be illegal to take photographs, videos and audio recordings in court. But with this relaxation of the laws, we’ll likely start seeing many more mammoth Tweetathons emanating from courts in England and Wales. Thus far, journalists have had to request permission to use Twitter and similar platforms on a case-by-case basis, and there has been a number of high-profile cases covered by Twitter in recent months, such as the Stephen Lawrence and Jo Yeates murder trials.
Lord Judge first gave the go-ahead for Twitter to be used in courts in England and Wales almost exactly a year ago, following reporters’ requests to live-tweet the extradition proceedings around Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
You can read the new guidance notes in full here:
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