JUDGES AND THE MEDIA: COOPERATE NO MATTER WHAT, A PUBLIC SERVICE REQUIREMENT

Publication date:
12/2012
Author:
Carlos Gómez Martínez
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Traditionally, relations between the judiciary and the media have been built on the principle of the public hearing. Mirabeau would say that "the interests of the accused would be sufficiently guaranteed by the public hearing. They themselves demand nothing more: that they may have suspect judges, prevaricators, enemies, is of little importance to them.

The public hearing is the only means of defence that they ask for." The public hearing is also considered, in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as one of the requirements of the right to a fair trial. But its function does not stop there. The very same Comte de Mirabeau points out that "this public hearing, this free gathering of citizens must henceforth keep an eye on the judges." By the same token, the Spanish Constitutional Court, in its Decision 96/1987, underlined that the ultimate purpose of this principle of the public hearing is twofold: "On the one hand, to protect the parties from a judiciary not subject to public scrutiny and, on the other, to maintain society’s trust in the courts. In these two meanings, the public hearing is [at the same time] one of the fundamentals of a fair trial and a pillar of the state of law".