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Between a 'media circus' and 'seeing justice being done': metajournalistic discourse and the transparency of justice in the debate on filming trials in British newspapers

Garcia-Blanco, Inaki and Bennett, Lucy 2018. Between a 'media circus' and 'seeing justice being done': metajournalistic discourse and the transparency of justice in the debate on filming trials in British newspapers. Journalism 10.1177/1464884918760025

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Abstract

Public trust in the criminal justice system in England and Wales has been low since the 1990s, and accusations that the system is arcane, lacking transparency, soft on criminals, and removed from the society it serves are common. The government, together with many lawyers, journalists and experts, believe that lifting the ban on televising trials may enhance the transparency of the judicial system, and eventually lead to higher levels of public trust. Drawing on the most systematic content analysis of the coverage of this debate between 1984 and 2016, we analyse how this issue was debated in British national newspapers. In addition to examining how newspapers presented this policy debate, we also explore how the coverage discussed the impact that filming trials could have upon journalistic practice. Our analysis shows how metajournalistic discourse resorts to high-profile and celebrity cases when examining journalistic practice. Newspapers constructed this issue as a quandary between increasing the transparency of the judicial system, and the risk that justice would become sensationalised, ignoring key elements in the debate, and the role that journalists themselves may play in that process.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1464-8849
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 January 2018
Date of Acceptance: 15 January 2018
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2019 16:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/108360

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