Comparative Law Approaches to Media Access to Court Proceedings

A particularly interesting panel, this one examines media access, pretrial publicity, and the presumption of innocence, comparing the laws and practices in the United States to those in several European countries and Canada.

The panelists speak to the national laws of continental Europe and case law of the European Court of Human Rights, law and practices in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Apparent differences emerge in both trial procedures and media actions and expectations in these various countries.

Questions/themes/discussion topics
  • Comparing U.S. law to the law of other countries concerning media access to trials, pretrial information that might prejudice a juror, and the presumption of innocence
  • What restrictions on the press do other countries employ to ensure that defendants get a fair trial?
  • What restrictions do other countries employ to ensure that the reputation of innocent defendants are not irreparably damaged in the course of legal proceedings?
  • Should freedom of the press be reexamined under a modern media lens?
  • What are the differences between English law concerning journalist liability and U.S. law as defined by New York Times v. Sullivan?
  • The effect of Naomi Campbell's court case on UK law
  • Difference between jury selection in the U.S. and Canada


Panel Video

"I think the other systems that we've been hearing about this morning make one assumption that I think is universal, and that is that the only fair jury, the only fair and impartial jury you can have is an ignorant jury. And here in the United States we don't make those assumptions."

- Lucy Dalglish

"We say in Canada that trial by a juror who is capable of putting what they have heard prior to being sworn in as a juror [out of their minds] is as Canadian as Canada winning the international hockey championship."

- Peter M. Jacobsen

"Such examples to me represent a betrayal by the press of the First Amendment's purpose as lives and liberty are destroyed in the pursuit of stories that sell. More importantly, perhaps, this is accompanied by stubborn refusal in most American legal discourse to reassess the current approach to the First Amendment in the light of such appalling misuses of the license it grants."

- Gavin Phillipson

"The press can do wrong, and has some sense to be controlled in order to accomplish this important task of informing the public and scrutinizing the way in which justice is administered."

- Giorgio Resta