7 King's Student L. Rev. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/kinstul7 and id is 1 raw text is: 

King's Student Law Review




                                Jumani Robbins

Digital technology and new media have revolutionised the way in which we consume and
disseminate information. In light of this, judicial authorities in various jurisdictions have
adopted rules concerning the use of such technology in the reporting of legal proceedings from
the courtroom. Many of these rules draw a distinction between members of 'the public' and
members of 'the media'. Using the rules in England and Wales as its point of origin, this paper
seeks to demonstrate the inadequacy of such an approach to courtroom reporting regulation. It
does so in three sections. In the first section, the current position in England and Wales is
untangled and its practical viability assessed; in the second section, traditional open justice
principles are applied in order to determine the conceptual desirability of such an approach;
and in the final section, a 'third way 'for the regulation of such technology in the courtroom is
tentatively suggested by reference to the United States. It is concluded that reform is required
in order to make the most of all that digital technology, new media and citizen journalism has
to offer to open justice and contemporary courtroom newsgathering.


We are living in the age of user-generated content. This is not news: almost a decade ago in
2006, Time magazine awarded its Person of the Year accolade to 'You in recognition of the
millions of people who contribute words, images and audio to so-called Web 2.0.2 In the years
since, such digital phenomena as blogs, wikis and discussion forums have continued to
revolutionise the way in which we consume and disseminate information,3 with facts and
opinions now quicker to access and easier to transmit. Naturally, this paradigm shift has not
gone unnoticed in the realms of newsgathering where the very essence of what constitutes
reportage has had to be reconceptualised.4

While the response of the courts in England and Wales to new methods of information
communication has fostered considerable academic debate, the bulk of this scholarship focuses

1 Lev   Grossman, 'You - Yes, You -      are TIME's Person of the Year' (TIME, 2006)
<http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1570810,00.html> accessed 30 November 2015
2 Web 2.0 is the phrase used by some commentators to describe 'a more socially connected web in which people
can contribute as much as they can consume'. See Paul Anderson, 'What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and
implications  for   education'  (JISC    Technology   and    Standards   Watch,   2007)
hwatch/tsw070lb.pdf> accessed 30 November 2015.
3 Eytan Bakshy, Itamar Rosenn, Cameron Marlow and Lada Adamic, 'The Role of Social Networks in
Information Diffusion' (WWW '12, 2012) <http://arxiv.org/pdf/1201.4145.pdf> accessed 30 November 2015
4 Gareth Locksley, The Media and Development: What's the Story? (World Bank Publications, 2009) 1

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