Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are Web 2.0 Media Making Publication Bans a Thing of the Past?

This came up during a panel discussion at the recent annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries.

The panel was about Twitter and Blogging in the Courtroom (Monday, May 10, 4PM in the conference program) and it discussed the impact of new social networking technologies on trial procedure and juror behaviour.

One of the participants, Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor, who liveblogged the recent criminal trial of Ottawa mayor Larry O'Brien, asked whether publication bans would be possible today if another Bernardo trial were to take place.

And then this appeared in my inbox yesterday: Internet raises news issues for court publication bans:
"When a judge in Brockville, Ont., imposed a publication ban in a domestic assault case last week, the local newspaper obeyed, reporting the suspect's age and hometown, but withholding his name."

"Just before the ruling came down, however, a Facebook site went up identifying not only the suspect's name, but posting three pictures of him."

"More than 1,000 people have since joined that group."

"The case highlights what experts say is an emerging legal conundrum: How effective are publication bans in an age when information about cases can be uploaded with a few key strokes and zapped around the world? Do publication bans even apply to social networking sites?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:26 pm


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