Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accreditation Process for Journalists re: BC Supreme Court Policy on Recording Devices

UPDATE as of February 24, 2012 Link to "Accreditation Process......" has been updated.  The designated journalists has changed hands.  This is a New Link

Journalist Accreditation Process
In June of 2002, the Supreme Court adopted the following policy regarding the use of recording devices inside courtrooms:
1.       Accredited journalists may be permitted to bring recording devices into Supreme Court courtrooms to record the proceedings, so long as:
a.       the use of recording devices is not disruptive to the proceedings;
b.      does not impose additional expense upon the court; and
c.       such recordings are used for the verification of journalists' notes only and are not broadcast, copied or used in any other way or for any other purpose.
2.       It remains within the discretion of the trial judge to exclude recording devices in a particular case, or for a particular portion of a trial.
3.       This policy permits the use of recording devices by accredited journalists in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse.
Journalists wishing to take advantage of this policy should first contact one of the members of the Accreditation Committee which is a committee of journalists that has been established to oversee the accreditation process.  Journalists will be required to sign an undertaking acknowledging that they agree to abide by the policy described above.  


The members of the Accreditation Committee are:

Ian Bailey
The Globe and Mail ( B.C. Bureau)
Phone:  604-631-6652
Email: ibailey@globeandmail.com
Terry Donnelly
CBC Radio News
Phone:  604-662-6908
Email:  terry_donnelly@cbc.ca
Petti (Peg) Fong
The Toronto Star (Vancouver Bureau)
Phone:  604-739-1917
Email: pfong@thestar.ca
Keith Fraser
The Province
(604) 683-2817
E-mail: kfraser@png.canwest.com

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
Phone:  (604) 605-2067
E-mail: nhall@png.canwest.com
Jane Seyd
North Shore News
Phone:  (604) 982-8764
E-mail: jseyd@nsnews.com
Stephen Smart
CBC News
Phone:  250-382-4368
Email:  stephen.smart@cbc.ca

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The old way
Accreditation Process for Journalists re: Supreme Court Policy on Recording Devices

In June of 2002, the Supreme Court adopted a policy to allow accredited journalists to take recording devices into B.C. Supreme Court trials in order to assist them to report accurately on the proceedings. The Public Affairs Committee has now finalized an accreditation process for journalists. Each journalist wishing to bring a recording device into a Supreme Court courtroom must first sign an undertaking that they have read and agree to abide by the following policy adopted by the Court:
1. That the Supreme Court’s policy excluding recording devices remains in place, except that accredited journalists may be permitted to bring recording devices into Supreme Court courtrooms to record the proceedings, so long as:
a. the use of recording devices is not disruptive to the proceedings;
b. does not impose additional expense upon the court; and
c. such recordings will be used for the verification of journalists' notes only and not be copied or used in any other way - in particular that they not be broadcast.
2. That it remain within the discretion of the trial judge to exclude recording devices in a particular case, or for a particular portion of a trial.
3. That this policy permits the use of recording devices by accredited journalists in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse.
A committee of journalists has been established to oversee the accreditation process. The  members are:
Terry Donnelly
CBC Radio News
Phone: 604-662-6908
Email: terry_donnelly@cbc.ca

Keith Fraser-
The Province
(604) 683-2817
E-mail: kfraser@png.canwest.com

Petti (Peg) Fong

The Toronto Star - Vancouver Bureau Chief
Phone: 604-739-1917
Email: pfong@thestar.ca

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
Phone: (604) 605-2067
E-mail: nhall@png.canwest.com

Jane Seyd
North Shore News
Phone: (604) 982-8764
E-mail: jseyd@nsnews.com

Stephen Smart
CBC News
Phone: 250-382-4368
Email: stephen.smart@cbc.ca
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c: such recordings will be used for the verification of journalists' notes only

3.......   in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse

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c:   If an Accredited Journalist is NOT in a court room eg. #54 but in another court room eg. #53 covering that trial or not even in the Court House, he can't use another accredited journalist's recordings as though they were his own to write his story from.   The point of having a recording device is so that a journalist can VERIFY his notes to the recording.   An outsider would have no notes!

    recordings can only be made from within a Court room eg. #54, and not in other areas of the courthouse.  Which means, and you have to be there to see the Accredited Journalists in action while using their recording devices... the devices are not visible.  Its not like they have a red flag or red light that pops up every time their recording devices are turned on.  Its the old saying here.... Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Then there is the Publication Ban that is imposed every time a Jury is not present eg. the Basi Virk Trial.  Are the Accredited Journalists recording devices taking down every spoken word, if not to be used immediately, then to be used later, after the Publication Ban is lifted.



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"Journalist Accreditation Process   2006

The Public Affairs Committee chaired by Mr. Justice Williamson has revised the Accreditation Process for Journalists which allows accredited journalists to bring recording devices into the Supreme Court’s courtrooms for the purpose of verifying their notes. The revised process creates a three year accreditation term. At the end of the term, those journalists wishing to continue to bring recording devices into the courtroom must renew their accreditation."
  This is pretty clear, highlighted in bold above..... verifying their notes!     

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