Reporters Charter launched at Future of News conference

Posted on: May 11, 2022 by Claire Meadows

A Reporters Charter, aimed at reinforcing the rights and obligations of journalists to report on court proceedings, has today been launched at the Society of Editors Future of News conference.

The Charter, published jointly by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the Media Lawyers Association and the Society of Editors, includes details on the rights of journalists to attend proceedings, take notes from court and use social media, access hearings remotely and the provision of information to reporters in relation to court lists and other documentation.

Launched at the Society’s Future of News conference in London, John Battle, Chair of the Media Lawyers Association and Head of Legal and Compliance at ITN said that the Charter was a “significant step” in reinforcing the rights of journalists to attend proceedings.

He said: “The Charter is a significant step forward. It brings together in one document the basic rights reporters have when reporting the courts. The Charter will help court reporters to carry out their vital role Informing the public about the justice system. It is fundamental for justice, the rule of law and democracy that the courts are reported.”

Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said: “The Society of Editors welcomes today’s launch of the Reporters’ Charter which will, no doubt, become an invaluable tool for journalists and court staff and ensure that the rights of reporters to attend court and receive documentation are better recognised and applied in practice. We congratulate the Media Lawyers Association on this achievement. The Society is delighted to endorse, promote and distribute the Charter and it will also be available to view on the resources section of our website.”

Justice Minister James Cartlidge said: “Justice has to be seen to be done to maintain public confidence and the media play a vital role as their eyes and ears in the courts.

“This Charter will help ensure reporters retain the access to courts and information they require to keep the public informed.”

The Charter outlines how courts and tribunals provide designated seats in courtrooms for journalists and that wi-fi is available to them so they can report live on social media platforms or news websites.

Details of the protocol for sharing court lists, documents and information about defendants with the media is also included. 

The Society’s Future of News conference took place on Wednesday 11 May 2022 at Mary Ward House in London. Speakers included COP 26 President and Minister of State Alok Sharma MP, Alison Phillips, Editor at the Daily Mirror, BBC Digital Director Naja Nielsen, Jonathan Levy, Director of Newsgathering and Operations at Sky News, Simon Robinson, Reuters Global Managing Editor, BBC News presenter Ros Atkins, Kamal Ahmed, Editor-in-Chief of The News Movement, Marianna Spring, Specialist Disinformation and Social Media Reporter at the BBC, Tessa Chapman, Chief Correspondent at 5 News and Jasper Fulcher, the Telegraph’s Head of Daily Visual Production.

The Society’s campaigning work on behalf of press freedom is made possible thanks to the support of Camelot, Cision and Google.

Coverage of the conference can be found at and via @EditorsUK.