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PROTOCOL FOR MEDIA COVERAGE OF COURT PROCEEDINGS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
FOR ALL MEDIA REQUESTS CONTACT :
Tammy Jackson
Communications Office
Email: tjackson@courts.state.nh.us
Phone or Text: (603) 475-9218

 

UPDATED 03/27/20

In light of CDC guidance on the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing precautions, the Judicial Branch has decided that telephonic monitoring and recording of court hearings continues to be the safest method by which media outlets can inform the public about court proceedings.  The Branch is mindful of the importance of media access to public court proceedings during the pandemic.  In our continuing effort to serve the public, we have updated the protocol to accommodate the media, including photographers and videographers, so that they may attend hearings in person, subject to the procedures and protocols outlined below.

Pursuant to the Supreme Court's 3/16 Order, in person courtroom proceedings are restricted to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, and other necessary persons, as determined by the trial judge. In recognition of the media and the public’s presumptive right of access to court proceedings, the Supreme Court created a protocol to provide the best quality recordings of court proceedings and the speedy distribution to all interested parties.

Any media outlet that seeks telephonic/electronic access to a court proceeding should contact the Communications Office to make arrangements.  If only one outlet seeks access, it will be provided access to the call. In the event that multiple media outlets request access to a hearing, WMUR will be assigned pool duties to monitor, record and distribute the audio, as their technology meets the standard of high quality recordings and efficient distribution. In the event that WMUR does not intend to cover a hearing that is requested by other media outlets, the outlet best equipped to record and distribute the audio will be designated as the pool. 

Any media request for in-person attendance at court proceedings, including photographers and videographers, should contact the Communications Office to make arrangements.  If multiple video or photojournalists request access, a pool representative will be designated.  After taking into account the number of parties, counsel, staff and other necessary persons, the presiding judge will determine if the courtroom has sufficient space to allow media attendance while satisfying social distancing guidelines.  Any media permitted access must satisfy the COVID-19 screening requirements at the entrance to the courthouse.

The Communications Office will continue to work with the media for access to proceedings on a case to case basis, will assist you in gathering case documents and information and will continue to post high profile case documents to our Frequently Requested Cases page on the court’s website.

 

 

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