|NMU||WASHINGTON, D.C.||Broadcasting||Jun 5, 2000|
House approves measure to allow cameras in federal courts
- Cameras would be allowed in federal courtrooms at the discretion of the presiding judge and with the consent of named parties under a measure passed by the House of Representatives in late May.
After many years of lobbying by the news media, the House has approved a measure that would allow cameras to record proceedings in all federal courtrooms under certain circumstances.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) had introduced the bill last year arguing that the unfettered broadcast of trials would help inform Americans about their government. The bill sat in the House until Chabot offered it as an amendment to the Federal Courts Improvement Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC). The Federal Courts Improvement Act was approved by the House in late May.
In 1998, Chabot introduced a similar cameras bill, which also passed the House, but died in the Senate. A similar bill has been introduced in this session by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Charles Schumer (D- NY).
The bill would allow cameras in the courtroom at the discretion of the presiding judge and with the consent of all named parties. The court would also order that the faces and voices of witnesses in televised proceedings would be disguised or otherwise obscured if they so wished.
© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press