The Nevada Supreme Court this week revised the state court rule on cameras in the courtroom.
Among the revisions is the addition of an express presumption in favor of some "electronic coverage" — defined to include broadcasting, televising, recording or taking of photographs — in all court proceedings in which the public is allowed. Such access still requires court permission, but the new rule relaxes the deadline for filing such a request from 72 hours before a proceeding to 24 hours.
A new provision also requires judges faced with a request for electronic access to make specific findings on the record as to whether cameras will be permitted, after considering a number of factors. This revision is an important addition, said Nevada Press Association Executive Director Barry Smith. Now, "the presumption is on being able to cover things electronically. You still need a judge's permission," Smith said, but "the findings need to be on the record. . . . Previously, a judge could just say no without really having a reason."
The revised rule also changes the description of those who can request electronic coverage of a courtroom proceeding. The former rule applied to "members of the media." The revised rule applies to "news reporters," which the rule defines as "any person who gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public." Operation of cameras in the courtroom is restricted to news reporters.
This revised description seeks to address the thorny issue of who is a reporter, Smith said. "It is a pretty good attempt at defining something that I'm not sure is definable," he said.
The revised rule is scheduled to take effect on September 1.