OTTAWA, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is
calling on B.C. provincial court to reverse a recently implemented
policy banning electronic communications from inside its courtrooms.
The policy, due to come into effect Monday, would restrict the use of
personal electronic devices within courtrooms— effectively killing the
use of Twitter, liveblogging, texting and e-mail during trials. The use
of these technologies in the past few years has resulted in a much
higher level of transparency and access to what happens within our
The courts claim the data transmission functions of these wireless
electronic devices compromises the quality of courtroom digital
recording and audio systems.
"Our legal system is based on an open-court principle. Banning the use
of technologies that allow the greatest number of people to witness
court proceedings is a backwards step," CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch
said. "We urge the B.C. courts to rescind this policy and encourage
courts across the country to rise to the spirit of what it means to be
an open court in 2011."
The use of electronic communications from inside a courtroom is governed
by a patchwork of policies across Canada. Some courts openly allow it.
In others media and the public must ask the permission of the presiding
judge and it's outright banned in some courtrooms. The CAJ believes the
use of these technologies should be allowed in every courtroom except
when a publication ban is in effect.
The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for
journalists from all media, representing about 800 members across the
country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality
professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists
For further information:
Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president (204) 697-7590, cell (204) 470-8862
Elizabeth Thompson, national director, (613) 986-5498