New Zealand Law Society - New Guidelines for media coverage of courts

New Guidelines for media coverage of courts

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Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has approved new In-Court Media Coverage Guidelines.

The Guidelines replace those issued in 2012 and apply to all Court of Appeal, High Court and District Courts proceedings as well as to any other statutory Tribunal that chooses to adopt them.

Changes which have been made between 2012 and 2016 follow a Media in Courts Committee review of the situation, 20 years after New Zealand initiated in-court television coverage, practices relating to cameras and recording in court.

The latest Guidelines include a set of three "guiding principles":

  •  All film, photographs and recordings taken of courtroom proceedings that are used or published must provide or assist in providing an accurate, fair and balanced report of the hearing, and must not be used or published out of context.
  • Applications for in-court media coverage are to be dealt with expeditiously and fairly and that so far as possible like cases are to be treated alike.
  • In making decisions and exercising discretions under these guidelines, the court may have regard to the following matters: (a) the need for a fair trial; (b) the desirability of open justice; (c) the principle that the media have an important role in the reporting of trials as the eyes and ears of the public; (d) court obligations to the victims of offences; and (e) the interests and reasonable concerns and perceptions of the parties, victims and witnesses.