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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

“Torn Between – Information Vs Expression”

I just came across a news article, “TV Ratings For High Court Arguments Would Be Awful, Says Alito”, posted October 22 about the clamor of certain people to have the proceedings of the High Court televised and the court’s reaction to it.

Justice Samuel Alito, one of the US Supreme Court justice who opposed the idea, said that the televised proceeding will not serve anything but will only create further mockery of government institutions. He made the reaction during a conference on Constitutional change at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Justice Alito made the remarks in jest but he junked the idea of having any court proceeding on television. He also added that recording court session will pose a problem because transcripts are often sent out or issued to the public a day after the proceeding, which is impossible to do although some people wanted to have it posted on the internet on the same day it was released by court.

However, I agree more with Justice Samuel Alito who opposed the television coverage of court proceedings on the basis that television has enough shows that feature legal issues. The idea is not only a waste of time and money but also irrelevant to a number of people who find long court sessions less than appealing to ordinary people who want to relax while watching television. I also believe that having court sessions on television would violate certain legal rules especially on confidential or private issues that are better discussed within the confines of a courtroom.

So in this tug of war, what is really at stake? Is there a limitation to the freedom of expression and the right to information on this issue?