OPEN JUSTICE OR OPEN SEASON? DEVELOPMENTS IN JUDICIAL ENGAGEMENT WITH NEW MEDIA
AbstractThe principle of open justice underpins the trial procedures of common law systems but is subject to exceptions, including name suppression orders that in the main seek to ensure trials are fair. A degree of tension between the judiciary and the media is inevitable when publication of information is prohibited or postponed, but a relationship of interdependence tends to subsist between the courts and traditional media. The emergence of new media has disrupted the status quo, challenging both the traditional media’s unique news publication capacity and the courts’ practical ability to suppress information. This article focuses on the potential for juries being adversely influenced by digital information extraneous to the trial process, and is structured as follows: relevant principles are identified; the relationship between traditional media and the courts, and impact of new media are then outlined; responses to the challenges presented by new media follows, and conclusions are drawn. The article draws on Australasian precedent, in particular, recent developments in New Zealand case law and legislation relating to information suppression.
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