Recommendations for court media reporters

Country:
The public has a right to obtain fair information on court activities.
Reporting on criminal processes makes visible application of the Criminal Law and court functions, and also enables public an insight into work of the judiciary system.

With objective to report more professionally on investigations and court processes, by these Recommendations, reporters are reminded

TO..

1. ..carefully and sensitively report on investigations and court processes on criminal acts, criminal prosecutions and court verdicts

2. ..professionally, objectively, timely, correctly and impartially report on crime acts and work of courts, respecting ethical standards assigned by the Press Code of BiH, and appreciating rules and legislation of BiH courts, where such procedures are being conducted

3. ..bear in mind the legal principle that each person is innocent until court a proves her/him guilty and reaches sentence in effect, even if the person proclaims guilt and/or in cases when public believes that the accused or suspect is guilty prior to the court verdict to that effect

4. ..not treat any individual as a war criminal prior to a court verdict to that effect, treating such individuals as suspect and/or accused war crimes

5. ..remember that reports with prejudiced and unfounded statements regarding accused and/or suspect crimes violate human rights guaranteed by the Constitution

6. ..remember that their reports and published information must neither interfere, nor jeopardise implementation of justice in current processes, nor influence the outcome of court trials and verdict

7. ..remember if they have already named the accused/suspect person in their reports, or identified that person in any way so the public might recognise her/him, they are obliged to print information on charges dismissed and/or termination of court trial, if it comes to that

8. ..not publish names of sexually abused victims or victims of violence, suicide, or publish materials that might help to identify the victim, unless the victim of violence and/or family of suicide victim allows it, and if disclosure is necessary for the investigation

9. ..generally avoid publishing names of relatives or friends of suspect or accused crimes, unless such description is necessary for complete, genuine and correct reporting on crime act or court processes

10. ..show utmost care and sensitivity when reporting on investigations and crime processes against minors, baring in mind future of those persons, as well as to show care and sensitivity for minor crime victims

11. ..make sure that court reports are professional, free of strong emotional expressions that might indirectly influence the public

12. ..not arouse national, religious, ethnic and racial intolerance and hatred in their reports, nor any sort of discrimination based on gender, sex, gender and sex identity and sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or incapability

13. ..remember that professional reporting excludes a selective approach to information, that might arouse incorrect interpretation of truth or course of court process

14. ..carefully report on "cases pending" thus avoiding jeopardising procedure in the appeal time. "Case pending" is the duration of the court process that is not concluded before appeal hearings, i.e. closing of the appeal period

15. ..accept and use legal terminology with an aim to understand the court procedure and correctly report on such procedure