By Christopher B. Daly
Hard to believe, but most federal courts and all military courts remain closed to cameras. That means that you and I — in other words, The People — cannot observe what’s going on in the judicial branch.
Here are some reflections on closing the Gitmo trials to cameras.
How can this possibly look to the rest of the world? Does it signal that the high-tech United States relies on pastels to communicate? Does it signal that the big, strong America is afraid of something?
The sketch artists do a great job under trying circumstances, and I would hope that they would always be welcome in courtrooms. But let’s get a video camera in there, too.
One response to “Bring cameras into court”
Nowhere is this more deserved than in the Supreme Court, where the stakes are highest and where the traditional concerns–witnesses and jurors being influenced–are lowest. This is perhaps due to the contempt for the non-Murdoch press by some justices.
In lower courts, much of the resistance still dates back o the OJ circus, with Nancy Grace making her own contribution.
I would not, however, take lightly concerns about tv providing a worldwide forum for terrorists and mass murderers who feed off publicity.
Of course, for those of us who feel sunlight is the best disinfectant of powerful institutions from the judiciary to the Koch Brothers’ political contributions, principle requires us not exempt the powerful institution of the media from greater transparency. The public certainly benefited from Tim Russert refusing to allow Scooter Libby to use protection of sources as a means for political retribution and knowing how often the sources have obvious personal agendas–and how often the media have engaged in quids pro quo for the leaks–would be mor informative than an entire season of Frontline.