Concerns over Family Court media censorship powers
Government plans to give Family Court judges the power to vet media stories is a form of censorship that journalists strongly oppose, Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) New Zealand chairman Gavin Ellis said today.
Family Court proceedings would be opened to the public and media with tight restrictions in place, the Government announced yesterday.
Changes were designed to improve transparency without compromising proceedings, ministers said.
Media and others could attend hearings with the judge’s permission, while involved parties could ask for outsiders to be excluded.
Judges could direct that draft news reports be submitted to the court to check they complied with court directions.
Any breach of those directions would mean individuals were liable of three months’ imprisonment or a $2000 fine and organisations up to $10,000 in fines.