In the petition filed by Senior Advocate, Ms. Indira Jaising, has asked the Supreme Court to video record or live stream cases of only national importance or those that impact the public at large. Apart from making the courts more accessible, archiving the rich debate, and arguments placed by the lawyers would also be of great value as an educational resource.
To increase accessibility to courts and enhance transparency of judiciary, many countries all across the world have permitted variants of recording of proceedings of their courtrooms. Whilst some countries permit live streaming, the others have agreed upon video recording that is published in a few days. There are also differences in terms of forums from which such recordings are permissible; for example, countries such as United Kingdom only have live streaming from their Supreme Court, whereas Canada is now agreeing to live stream proceedings from its trial courts as well.
The following is a list of a countries and international forums that have agreed to video record or live stream their court proceedings:
- United Kingdom: After the amendment to Constitutional Reforms Act, 2005, the live streaming of proceedings of their Supreme Court was permitted. These proceedings, along with being live streamed on their website, is also used and televised on BBC and Sky News. Recordings are subject to the exception that they should not affect the administration of justice.
- Canada: Supreme Court hearings are televised through the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel (CPAC). Whilst the Supreme Court retains the copyright of these recordings, the broadcast feed is made available to other networks, and one file a request to access them for educational, non commercial purposes. The exceptions to making such recording is limited by a publication ban which may restrict certain hearings from being recorded.
- New Zealand: Recordings in the New Zealand courts as it permits audio-video recording in all its judicial forums, are done on the basis of an application for the same made by a media applicant. However, parties to the hearing can object to such filming, but the final decision would lie with the judge presiding over that matter.
- Australia: The proceedings of the highest court of Australia, are video recorded and then uploaded on their official website within a few business days. However, filming, photographs, or recordings by media personnel or the public is prohibited.
- South Africa: At the discretion of the judges, the live streaming and televising of proceedings of the courts have been permitted. Through a recent judgment, their Supreme Court of Appeal, upheld the authority of a court to provide access to media inside the courtrooms for the purpose of recording and televising the proceedings after the presiding judge’s permission.
- European Court of Human Rights: All hearings are filmed and then broadcasted at 2:30 pm on the same day, and unless it is overridden by interests of morals, public order, or national security, or where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties.
- Inter American Court of Human Rights: The hearings and deliberations of this court are mandated to be audio recorded.
- International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: The footage of the hearing from this court is broadcasted on their website after a 30 minute delay. Among other things, the exceptions for such recordings is limited to safety, security, or non disclosure of identity of a victim or witness.
One of the reasons trial court proceedings are dissuaded from being video recorded or live streamed is because they include witness testimonies, which can be compromised by distracting the witnesses with cameras in the court room. In the petition filed by Senior Advocate, Ms. Indira Jaising, it is asked from the Supreme Court to video record or live stream cases of only national importance or those that impact the public at large. Apart from making the courts more accessible, archiving the rich debate, and arguments placed by the lawyers would also be of great value as an educational resource.
The hearings for Ms. Jaising’s case are scheduled to begin soon, tentatively on 19th March, 2018. To show your support towards this campaign to enhance accessibility and transparency in the courts.
Please sign the petition here: Support live-streaming of proceedings in the Supreme Court of India