Media communication principles of Estonian courts

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  • The goal of media communication in Estonian courts is to contribute to the creation of high-quality journalistic material on courts, provide journalists with fast and topical information about what is going on in courts and to improve the legal awareness of the public.
  • Media communication of courts follows the principle that everything going on in courts is public, unless otherwise prescribed by law.
  • All Estonian courts have press officers who are initial communicators with the press.
  • Journalists are allowed to take notes at public court sessions if this does not disturb the session.
  • Public court sessions may be photographed, audio recorded or filmed and broadcasted on the radio or television only with the prior permission of the judge who conducts proceedings in the case.
  • About public sessions, the procedural information on the case is available to journalists via the press officer. About the sessions in camera, the press officer provides information only with the permission of the judge who conducts proceedings in the case and in the extent prescribed by the judge.
  • Court judgments that have not entered into force yet are generally public and available to journalists via the press officer. When the original text of court judgments in force or not in force yet is given to the media, the data not subject to disclosure according to law is erased from the judgement.
  • Journalists can access the full court files only after the final judgment of the court case has entered into force. In order to access the file, they have to apply for  the permission of the president of the court, the administrative chief judge of the courthouse at the county court or the judge who conducted proceedings in the case.