Audio-Visual Coverage of Courts
A Comparative Analysis
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2008
Online Publication Date:October 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511493911.003
The televising of proceedings in American courtrooms has been the subject of countless articles, books, studies and experiments. Consequently, this chapter does not propose to go down the well trodden path of outlining the history and experiences of American courts. Instead, it focuses on those aspects of the American experience which other common law countries regard as precedents, against which their experiences are measured, to which they are compared, and which inevitably serve as reference points in any analysis of the televising of court proceedings.
This chapter begins with an analysis of the virtual banning of cameras from American courtrooms in the early twentieth century in order to facilitate a clearer understanding of the technological, legal and other reasons why courtroom televising was initially banned and has subsequently come to be accepted, though often subject to significant restrictions, in all state jurisdictions in the United States. It also facilitates a consideration of the introduction of televising as a step in the evolution of courtroom reporting.
The dominant role which constitutional rights issues have played in determining the nature of the debate, and the manner in which courtroom reporting is regulated in the United States, are then examined and shown to contain important lessons for other common law jurisdictions.
This chapter's examination of some of the major studies undertaken in American courts not only discloses invaluable precedents for regulation or administration of courtroom televising, but also reveals why such studies are inevitably deemed inconclusive.