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The Twitter trial
A judge in the US banned a local newspaper from live tweeting during a trial in the courtroom. But judges in Australia have ruled otherwise. Whom do you agree with?
November 10, 2009 10:59 by Aarti Nagraj
While the judgments in these cases could set precedents regarding the use of twitter in reporting courtroom trials, there have been cases where judges have also ruled otherwise. Earlier this year, US District Judge Thomas Marten from Wichita, Kansas, allowed a reporter from Wichita Eagle to tweet updates about a trial a trial of six alleged gang members.
“The more we can do to open the process to the public, the greater the public understanding,” Marten told the Associated Press. And regarding concerns that jurors might be influenced by the tweets, he said that jurors were instructed to avoid broadcasts, newspaper, and online reports.
Last month, the Federal Court in Australia also ruled that individual judges could decide if reporters could tweet live during court cases. “We live in an age where portable electronic devices offer a range of communication tools and are not just mobile phones,” said Federal Court CEO Warwick Soden. “Used properly they promote efficient business practice,” he said.
“It is always up to individual judges the way they conduct matters before them,” he added.
The ruling came after a judge allowed two reporters to cover the trial of the iiNet copyright case through twitter.