This section covers access to courts. Courtrooms traditionally have been open to the public, but judges often close proceedings or seal documents when they feel secrecy is justified. This section also covers state and federal laws governing camera coverage of trials.
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide
Everything online journalists need to protect their legal rights. This free resource culls from all Reporters Committee resources and includes exclusive content on digital media law issues.
Courthouse News Service (CNS) filed a federal lawsuit against a California state superior court for delaying access to newly filed unlimited civil complaints for days or weeks. CNS argued that the First Amendment provides a right of access to civil complaints that attaches immediately upon filing, and its reporters should be able to inspect newly filed civil complaints the day they are filed. A federal district court granted the defendant-court's motion to dismiss, finding that the type of access requested was not required under the First Amendment. The Reporters Committee and 25 other media organizations argued that a First Amendment right of access attaches to civil complaints when they are filed. The brief argued that the public has a right to know what matters are occupying space on court dockets and consuming public resources, and that complaints reveal a wealth of information about how citizens use the judicial branch.