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Introduction — What to do if a court issues a gag order

Introduction -- What to do if a court issues a gag order

Gag orders are a form of prior restraint that prohibit parties, lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses, law enforcement officials, jurors and others from talking to the press.1 Frequently such orders are sought by one party in a case, although judges may issue gag orders on their own initiative.

Judges often call gag orders “protective orders,” and say they are necessary to protect a person’s right to a fair trial, the fair administration of justice or the sanctity of jury deliberations.