Working group I.
Moderator: Dr. Judit Bayer
Assistant Judge: Dr. Mercédesz Kádár
Secretary: Dr. Sándor Sipos
Each member of the group participated in the lively discussion around three topics:
1. What is the nature of cooperation between courts and the press, is it proactive or reactive, how satisfactory is it on a scale from 1-10 from the perspective of the judiciary? What are the cooperation’s benefits and problems? Each participants gave his or her opinion and shared their experience, and we prepared a spreadsheet about the results. Answers:
a. Most countries were reactive or mixed (5-6)
b. Benefits: transparency and trust;
c. Problems were manyfold, but mainly: sensationalism, assimetry, misinterpretation of judgements, limits of disclosure e.g. personal data, a mutual distrust.
2. Is it a good idea to select cases that a court would predigest for the press and issue a press release?
a. some participants opposed the idea of predigested press releases as such and listed its drawbacks:
i. pointing out a case raises the media’s attention;
ii. press attention before the final judgement puts a burden on the judge who works on the case;
iv. selection of some cases unnecessarily reveals the court’s opinion.
v. Separation of powers shall be kept in mind; media should do its own duty and courts also their own.
b. Other participants held that press releases can be beneficial to ensure that media transmits facts more precisely. They pointed out the following factors to keep in mind:
i. socially important decisions should be predigested in order to create better understanding;
ii. ideally a press release should be made only after the final verdict is delivered
iii. media is no more a gatekeeper; through means of social media directly the public can be addressed; In order to inform the public, courts can bypass the mediator.
iv. for the sake of case law an abstract could be drawn from decisions and published on website;
v. cases of local and of national interest may be different;
vi. aspects of selection should be social importance, rather than sensationalism;
3. The third big issue discussed by working group I. was the use of social media in the courtroom. Its the dangers were pointed out, benefits were not found.
a. influences witnesses:
b. can flame up a politically sensitive situation;c. may interfere with electronic system in the building;
d. the judge should have the power to decide on the spot depending on the circumstances.
However, manner of enforcement is techincally problematic:
e. jammers are not useful because judges are to use technology, as well as attorneys.
f. metal detection arches are expensive, as is personal who controls possession of the devices.