ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST ALLOWING TELEVISION CAMERAS
INTO THE COURTROOM
l. The trial participants' primary audience would shift from
the case at hand to the external public.
2. Courtroom distractions would increase, and witnesses,
already uncomfortable and stressed because of having to
appear in court, would be further stressed, thus hampering
the free flow of information.
3. Jurors, concerned with being on television, would not
concentrate on the trial proceeding to the extent that they
4. Lawyers would be tempted to play to the television cameras
rather than focus on the basic elements of the case at hand.
5. Television cameras tend to portray defendants as being
guilty and produce a climate of hostility toward defendants.
The result being, all else held constant, a greater
likelihood of guilty verdicts being returned due to the
presence of the camera in the courtroom
6. Television cameras inherently focus on court participants
and as a result, targets them for possible community
pressure, threats and abuse.
7. A distorted picture of court proceedings would be portrayed
to a wide audience, thus further undercutting an already
much maligned social institution.
8. Television tends to sensationalize cases, with the result
being decisions based on passion and emotion rather than
reason and ration.
9. The judicial system would lose control of its own
10. Television reporting is inherently biased - "Television in
its present state and by its very nature reaches into a
variety of areas in which it may cause prejudice to an
accused ... the televising of criminal trials is inherently
a denial of due process" (Estes v Texas 381 U.S. 532, 1965).
l. There is no clear and convincing evidence that television
cameras in the courtroom negatively affect courtroom
personnel nor places undue hardship on trial participants.
2. Modern technology has made television camera equipment less
cumbersome, allowing deployment in a relatively discreet and
3. The public has become so accustomed to television as a fact
of everyday life that the presence of television cameras in
the courtroom would not cause court participants to respond
in a discriminatory or fundamentally unfair fashion, and
would not hamper the free flow of information.
4. Court participants would perform in a more professional
fashion, knowing that the proceedings are being televised.
5. As the public witnesses the televised professional
proceedings of the courtroom, the courts' image would be
6. By expanding the trial audience and educating the public
with respect to the judicial process, public understanding
and confidence in the courts would increase, while myth and
mystique would dissipate.
7. The courtroom is a public forum, and the public 'has the
right to know'.