Today's headlines include stories about the possibility of cameras coming to Ontario courtrooms. This is a result of a press release released yesterday by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General about the report received from the Ontario Panel on Justice and the Media established by Attorney General Michael Bryant back in January 2005. The Panel was created to help find ways to foster understanding between the media and the justice system. The full report is now available on the Ontario Ministry of Attorney General website. According to the Executive Summary, the Panel made 17 recommendations which cover the following areas:
•access to court records;
•use of tape recorders;
•cameras in the courtroom;
•media facilities at the courthouse;
•affordable access to court records.
•increasing knowledge across the two professions;
•notification of publication bans;
•electronic access to court records;
•online media guide;
•public justice-media website.
•justice-media liaison committee;
•press conferences/public commentary;
•sub judice contempt rule and shield law.
The media, of course, has picked up on probably the most controversial recommendation, the addition of cameras to the courtroom to increase openness in the justice system.