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Study Shows Little Interest By News Media In Family Court Proceedings

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 4, 2007

Source: Menz Issues

Study Shows Little Interest By News Media In Family Court Proceedings 

Press Release by Families Commission at 11:32 am, 03 Apr 2007

The Family Court was opened to the news media almost two years ago in a move designed to open the court to the public gaze. However a study on the results shows that journalists have barely parted the curtains.

The Families Commission has just released a study funded by its Blue Skies Fund, The Family Court, Families and the Public Gaze by Canterbury University researchers Ursula Cheer, John Caldwell and Jim Tully.

“The intent behind opening up the Family Court, with certain restrictions, was to promote public understanding and transparency in the face of a public perception of secrecy and bias,” Ms Cheer said.

The researchers examined the results of the first year following the change, looking at media reports and the new environment, and surveyed judges and journalists.

“Judges generally were disappointed by the lack of interest shown by the media and felt that reporters were more interested in the views of people who were dissatisfied rather than in the Court itself,” said Ms Cheer.

Over the year, there were just 101 articles published on Family Court cases and many dealt with the new reporting regime itself. Only a few looked at individual cases.

Some media did not consider Family Court cases newsworthy or felt uneasy reporting the cases. However, the study also revealed that media were hampered by practical limitations such as lack of personnel and time to cover cases.

The report suggests that the media could take more advantage of the new openness to assist public understanding of the work of the Court. However they would be assisted in this if plans for opening the Court more fully were brought to fruition.

For a copy of the report visit www.nzfamilies.org.nz/publications

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