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Fair Trial and Freedom of the Press

Ahran Park


Fair trial and freedom of the press concerns how to balance the right of a free press and the defendant's right to a fair trial. News reporting on judicial proceedings helps the public understand the legal procedure better and contributes to the public's right to know about the working of the justice system (→  Right to Know ). The media play an important watchdog role in monitoring the administration of justice (→  Freedom of the Press, Concept of ). However, the news media sometimes misrepresent court trials and mislead viewers and readers (→  Yellow Journalism ). This kind of inaccurate media coverage might affect jurors or judges in such a way as to prejudice their supposedly impartial judgment. The idea of balancing the right of the news media to cover judicial proceedings with the right of the accused to a fair trial has been incorporated into a number of international conventions and national constitutions. For example, the European Convention on Human Rights, while guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press, protects the right of the accused to a fair trial. Its Article 6(1) states that the press and public may be excluded from all or part of a trial “where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require” or “where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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