Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mass. Courts to Open Doors to New Media?

John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts...Image via WikipediaWith the blessings of the Judiciary-Media Committee, the Rules Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") has proposed amendments to SJC Rule 1:19 concerning cameras in the courtroom that would expand the use of a broader range of electronic technology.

The proposed revisions include re-christening Rule 1:19 Electronic Access to the Courts. More substantive changes involve allowing live blogging in the courtroom and the use of laptops and smartphones.  Those covering the courts, be they online journalists, traditional print and broadcast journalists or bloggers, would be required under the rule change to register with the Court's Public Information Office and sign a declaration agreeing to abide by coverage restrictions, such as not photographing or recording on video jurors, sidebar conferences, or juvenile proceedings.

To the present allowance of one "pool" video camera and one "still" camera, the proposed amendments would add a third pool camera for bloggers and other non-mainstream journalists.  The SJC is soliciting comments on the proposed revisions due on or before January 28, 2011.

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