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Broadcasting Court Proceedings

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2012

We are planning to legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to permit broadcasting of selected court proceedings as part of our commitment to increasing transparency in public services. Initially, we will allow broadcasting of judgments in the Court of Appeal, and we expect to extend this to sentencing remarks in the Crown court in due course.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Will he confirm that information will be the watchword, not sensationalism, and that any conditions imposed will have that very much in mind?

Yes, I can assure my hon. Friend that we will not allow our courts to become places of public theatre. Victims, witnesses, defendants and jurors will not be filmed.

The Minister just said something very important when he said that witnesses will not be filmed. Will he repeat that guarantee, because a court appearance is a very traumatic process for a witness or victim? We need a red line that cannot be crossed not only by current Ministers but by Ministers in the future, so that witnesses are protected.

As I said, that is our position. We will be consulting—and are—with a wide range of stakeholders, including broadcasters, victims groups and others, to ensure that appropriate operational arrangements and safeguards are in place.