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HFHR on restrictions on coverage of constitutional hearings

The Helsinki Foundation has expressed its deep concern over the limitations imposed on the media coverage of hearings conducted before the Constitutional Tribunal.

On 10 January, judge Julia Przyłębska prohibited the video recording and photographing of the Tribunal’s courtroom proceedings. The judge substantiated the prohibition by her own assessment that the presence of the media at a hearing causes “some chaos”. She also argued that “excessive” media interest is not conducive to the peaceful examination of a case.

According to the HFHR, deprivation of the media’s ability to record hearings conducted before the Constitutional Tribunal effectively abolishes the live coverage of constitutional hearings, which constitutes a serious interference with journalists’ right to deliver information and the public opinion’s right to have such information delivered.

The Foundation emphasises that in the practice of common courts hearings may generally be recorded and that any relevant restrictions are treated as exceptions justified by extraordinary circumstances. The decision taken by judge Przyłębska contravenes the standard developed by common courts and appreciated by journalists and may be a bad example for common courts.

To read the HFHR’s statement, use this link.

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