The courts may soon become their own multi-media hubs in a bid to combat public disapproval if Victorian Chief Justice Marilyn Warren has her way.
According to Warren, the courts should publish an online newspaper covering various judgments each week, open a YouTube channel streaming the views of court-specific commentators and stream the video and/or audio of judgments online.
Speaking at Deakin University this week for the Richard Searby oration, Warren said opening court-controlled media channels may assist the justice system in meeting the scrutiny of the media by allowing court decisions to go straight to the general public, rather than be filtered by journalists.
She believes that too often the media, particularly the tabloid press, present a channel where "judges are viewed as fair game and severely criticized more and more". This usually comes down to the fact that judges can only confine their views to their judgment and don't have the opportunity to respond to criticism.
Warren has long maintained that judges receive a tough time from the media. In a judgment handed down earlier this month, she said that the public has little ability to evaluate statements made in the media around the notion that judges are "soft on sentencing".
According to The Australian, the Victorian Government has welcomed Warren's proposal and even suggested that the courts go beyond streaming just judgments to bring entire court cases to computer screens.
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