High Court Unveils New Journalist Registration Process
The information office of the highest court in Massachusetts today launched a new online registration process for citizens and news organizations wishing to use cameras and other electronic equipment to cover court hearings throughout the state.
The process is a lead-in for amended courtroom media rules that become effective next month. Key changes to Rule 1:19, the state’s cameras-in-the-courtroom statute, include:
- a redefining of the media to include citizen journalists “who are regularly engaged in the reporting and publishing of news or information about matters of public interest”
- allowance to, with permission of the judge, use laptop computers, tablets, smart phones and other devices to cover the proceedings, including live-blogging
Once a news media organization or individual has registered, the state will return a signed acknowledgment form which must be presented alongside photo ID to courthouse officials if electronic devices would be brought into a courthouse or courtroom.
Additionally, as is the current policy, the news media must request permission beforehand from the presiding judge to use a pool camera or electronic device in the courtroom during those proceedings.
The SJC’s amended Rule 1:19 is effective on September 17, 2012.