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How to go to prison

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A typically solid piece of reporting in The Times today on the ongoing court battle between Amanda Staveley and Barclays – with a twist at the end.

The paper of record notes that the trial is being broadcast online due to social distancing restrictions. It adds:

“Last Friday it emerged that a BBC journalist had taken a screenshot of proceedings and had posted the image on Twitter. It is a criminal offence to take a picture of any court hearing without authorisation and the live-feed of the trial features a prominent warning to viewers against making recordings or publishing images.”

“It is a very serious matter,” said the judge.

No kidding.

We’ll spare the blushes of the reporter concerned, but note that he isn’t a business hack.

I think this stuff is likely to happen more and more as hacks get ever more thinly spread and are placed in reporting positions that leave them exposed.

Lately I have borne the wrath of internet editor types who find my reluctance to live tweet privileged proceedings or rip off court reports from PA somewhat irksome.

Media law isn’t that complicated, but you can go to prison if you break it.

There is a definite role here for flaks to be kind to young hacks being asked to take risks they don’t understand.

My court correspondent tells me that cases like these are one of the rare occasions when he is pleased PRs are involved.

They can make complicated cases run so much more smoothly in terms of letting hacks know what they are entitled to see and what they probably shouldn’t put on Instagram.


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