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UK Journalists Can Now Tweet From Any Courtroom Without Getting Permission First

New rules have been set out for social media in the courtroom, and Twitter is getting a warm welcome. Journalists in the UK can now use Twitter during court proceedings without requesting permission before tweeting.

The Lord Chief Justice, a top UK judge, issued new practice guidance notes specifically for “the use of live text-based forms of communication (including Twitter) from court…”

The guidelines change the rule that phones had to be turned during court proceedings. Now, it states that: “There is… no statutory prohibition on the use of live text-based communications in open court.”

And it goes on to say that representatives of the media or legal commentators may use Twitter or live, text-based communications from within the courtroom, as “…the most obvious purpose of permitting the use of live, text-based communications would be to enable the media to produce fair and accurate reports of the proceedings,” and it wouldn’t interfere with the proper administration of justice.

If a regular member of the public without journalistic credentials wants to use Twitter while in court, they must get permission from the judge in order to do so, as their live-tweeting could possibly interfere with the case.

The guide notes that, while journalists may now use Twitter freely, it must be used as a text-based form of communication only: no photos or sound recordings are allowed in a courtroom. So don’t expect any nice new embedded photos next to live-tweeting about a case.

It’s just six days shy of a year ago that Lord Chief Justice allowed Twitter to be used in the courts for the first time, amid the flurry of activity surrounding the WikiLeaks trial at the time.

(Top image: Asparuh via Shutterstock)

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