4.0 Media in court

The information detailed in this section is general and applies to all courts. However, the Supreme Court, Coroners Court, Waitangi Tribunal, Family Court, Youth Court, District Court civil proceedings and High Court civil proceedings have additional or special provisions regarding media, which are detailed in section 5 of these guidelines.

In this section, ‘media’ refers to members of the media as defined in section 198(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011. The section defines a member of the media as:

A person who is in the court for the purpose of reporting on the proceedings and who is either subject to or employed by an organisation that is subject to:

  • a code of ethics
  • the complaints procedure of the Broadcasting Standards Authority or the Press Council
  • any other person reporting on the proceedings with the permission of the court (i.e freelance journalists)

If you are new to court reporting or to a particular court, it would be helpful to meet with the court registrar or court manager to familiarise yourself with the court and its operation. It is necessary to do this at a time when the court is not in session.

Media need to be present in the courtroom at the time of the proceedings to obtain details of what happened in court. If media are not in court at the time of proceedings, they will need to request access to the court record to obtain details of what happened in court.

When court is sitting, the presiding judge is responsible for the conduct of proceedings inside the courtroom.

Freelance journalists or those working for organisations outside the definition of media may cover court at the judge’s discretion. The registrar needs to be advised in advance if a journalist will be seeking this permission.

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