New Technology Rules for Journalists in Massachusetts Courts

The highest court in Massachusetts has updated its rules for news coverage of trials and other court proceedings.   The goal of the change is “to recognize the changes in technology and journalism” the court said.

The rules permit electronic devices such as laptops in the courtroom, but require anyone seeking to use high tech gear to register with the SJC’s Public Information Office.   The new rules allow a third camera in a courtroom — a video camera potentially being used by a citizen journalist — in addition to the cameras from television and newspapers that have been allowed for many years.

Judges would have the discretion to grant someone without PIO credentials the right to use a laptop and other equipment.  Judges can also restrict coverage it if could have potentially harmful consequences.   The SJC emphasized that “covert photography, recording or transmission is prohibited”.  These new rules go into effect July 1.

About the Author:  Elizabeth Tice heads up Office Solutions Plus LLC , where our services include using DVDs and CDs recorded in the courtroom for transcription.


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