Court reporters all of a-twitter in Assange hearing

by Lucy Sherriff | posted on 14 December 2010

Was history made? Today witnessed the first ever tweeted commentary from an extradition hearing, as the court sat to consider whether or not to grant bail to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Journalist and author Heather Brooke tweeted from the courtroom: “In an amazing nod to the fact we live in digital age, judge has said we can tweet”.

The judge granted this permission in response to a request from Brooke’s fellow journalist Alexi Mostrous. He commented: “judge just gave me explicit permission to tweet proceedings "if it's quiet and doesn't disturb anything".”

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. A short while later Mostrous tweeted: “new internet age? Security guard: "phones off, unless you take notes with blackberry [paraphrased] in which case away you go"”

In general, the restrictions on reporting from a courtroom in the UK are tight. There is no photography, and even the sketch artists must draw their pictures from memory.

Legal blogger David Allen Green (otherwise known as Jack of Kent) sent a tweet out acknowledging the importance of the judge’s decision: “Kudos to @AlexiMostrous and @newsbrooke for challenging the illiberal and misconceived block on courtroom communications”

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