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Chief Justice, Zaila McCalla, is calling on media practitioners, to acquire a working knowledge of the court system, to better ensure that information is accurately disseminated to the public.
“I make bold to say that a news reporter ought to be concerned, not only with the special desires of news editors and directors of news, but also with the presentation of the news in a format that is comprehensible to persons from all walks of life. After all, it is to the public that information is directed,” she said.
“It is very important for court reporters to have a working knowledge of the hierarchy of the courts and how they are staffed,” Justice McCalla emphasised.
She was addressing participants at a Regional Conference on the Media and Caribbean Justice System, at the Hilton Hotel in New Kingston on September 3.
“Every effort should be made to pronounce legal terms correctly, to ensure that legal submissions are not distorted, so as to avoid unnecessary distress and embarrassment. It is therefore essential, that media practitioners who carry out duties as court reporters, undergo at least basic training in this area,” Mrs. McCalla suggested.
The Chief Justice explained that the necessary training would greatly affect the public.
“It is necessary to have a proper working knowledge as to how the court operates, with some knowledge of at least common terms used, how these terms are applied, and their meanings. This will ensure that persons who rely on the media for educational purposes are not misled,” she pointed out.
Additionally, Mrs. McCalla is appealing to media practitioners, to engage persons in the legal profession, as “much benefit is to be derived from senior members of the profession, in order to contain the flow of inaccuracies that occur from time to time.”
“It must also be noted, that words placed in quotation marks doesn’t necessarily make them true. It is therefore critical that reporters seek to verify information, in order to present an accurate and balanced account of what has transpired,” she added.
The Chief Justice stressed that journalists and court reporters have an important role to play in the administration of justice.
The conference was held under the theme: ‘Upgrading Regional Media Capacity to Report on the Region’s Justice System’, and was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), TV Court and LaBurn Productions, Home Style Juices, and FirstCaribbean International Bank.