Madrid: Jurists convene a seminar on the media and the judiciary

A three-day seminar on the Media and the Judiciary organized by the ICJ opens today in Madrid, Spain.

The seminar is part of the ICJ’s on-going Study on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession.

The objectives of the seminar are two-fold. The Participants are to examine the relationship between the media and the judiciary and will be asked to formulate guidelines to help the media and the judiciary develop a relationship that serves both the freedom of the press as well as judicial independence. Participants will include judges, lawyers and media representatives from all over the world, who have dealt with these issues in the course of their profession.

The seminar is based upon the postulate that fundamental human rights and liberties can only be preserved in a society where the judiciary enjoys independence. The media plays an important role in protecting these rights through reporting on judicial proceedings.

The relationship between the media and the judiciary is a particularly complex one that has yet to be defined. On the one hand, media reports of judicial proceedings inform the public of matters of interest and can serve as a measure of control over the court. On the other, certain media reports may unduly influence both the judge and jury as well as witnesses. This interaction and the problems it raises will be at the core of the debate.

Hence, in convening this seminar, the ICJ wishes to conduct an in-depth study of the relationship between the media and the judiciary which is based on the belief that freedom of information and speech must be properly balanced with the need for judicial independence.

A Press Conference will be called for at the end of the seminar.

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