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Court Proceedings: Media Reports

Volume 622: debated on Tuesday 7 March 2017

8. What recent assessment she has made of the extent to which local media report on court proceedings. (909093)

We are committed to upholding and strengthening the principle of open justice, in which local reporters play an important role.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend share my concern that more than half of local newspaper editors have said that they think the courts are no longer being reported properly? Does he agree that justice needs not only to be done but to be seen to be done and that the decline of local media represents a real threat to that principle? What more can be done to address this issue?

Yes, I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend. This is an important area. We are committed to upholding open justice, and local reporting of court proceedings is a key part of that. Under our reforms, we will publish lists of forthcoming criminal cases and their outcomes. We will also allow access to virtual hearings via video screens in local courts, so that reporters can see those proceedings anywhere in the country. We hope that that will make a contribution to the important principle that my right hon. Friend highlights

Does the Minister support the BBC’s proposals to work with local newspapers and local websites such as the excellent to improve the coverage of court proceedings and local coverage generally?

In fact, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale) was the initiator of that scheme, which we do support.