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01 April 2021

NMA Welcomes Proposals To Increase Use Of Virtual Technology In Court Rooms

The News Media Association has welcomed proposals to increase the use of virtual technology in court rooms while stressing the need to maintain or enhance the ability of reporters to cover proceedings in person.

The NMA has worked with court authorities and other bodies on practical arrangements to minimise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic upon open justice, and to ensure that reporters can continue to cover proceedings as fully as possible.

Proposals within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 will build on temporary emergency provisions introduced to facilitate court proceedings and open justice during the coronavirus pandemic.

A News Media Association spokesperson said: “The News Media Association welcomes the proposals to increase the use of virtual technology in court rooms, provided of course that this does not impact upon the ability of reporters to cover proceedings in person.

“Over the past year, the NMA has worked with court authorities and other bodies on practical arrangements to minimise the impact of the pandemic upon open justice. We look forward to continuing this work to enhance news media’s ability to cover the courts on behalf of the public.”

Throughout the pandemic, and the wider programme of digitisation of the courts, the NMA has stressed the importance of reporters being able to attend hearings in person. This should be maintained or enhanced, the NMA said, while virtual court hearings should offer the opportunity for media to cover more hearings than they do currently.