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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

CIoJ welcomes cameras in court

Press Release
Release date: 20 January 2020

The Chartered Institute of Journalists welcomes the historical development to permit the broadcasting of sentencing in criminal trials in England and Wales.

The initiative has been supported by the justice secretary, Robert Buckland QC, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon.

The Institute has consistently campaigned for more open justice and improved media coverage of the legal system.

Institute President-Elect Professor Tim Crook was the UK’s first broadcast legal affairs correspondent and reported trials at the Central Criminal Court for 15 years.

He said: “This will substantially improve public understanding of the criminal justice system at a time when reporting coverage has diminished through newspaper closures and job losses.”

He added: “A progressive minded new generation of senior judiciary and enlightened campaigning by the journalism industry have negotiated this brilliant breakthrough.”

The first crown court broadcasts are expected to take place in April or May after legislation has been passed.

Professor Crook disagreed that televising sentencing could become some kind of “spectator sport.”

He said the public would be able to “fully understand the seriousness and solemnity of such occasions and the professionalism and quality of the people who work in our criminal courts.”