BGP Litigation attorney Georgy Baganov speaks with Novaya Gazeta about the draft laws restricting broadcasting from the courtroom

"As of 17 March 2017 the amendments to the Russian Criminal Procedure Code have made it through three readings in the State Duma, and on 16 March 2017 they were passed to the Federation Council. Presently there are no reasons to doubt they will be enacted", says Georgy Baganov.

Analyzing the legislative initiative in further detail, the BGP Litigation attorney noted: "The draft law restricting broadcasting from the courtroom in criminal cases was submitted to the State Duma over eight months ago, on 5 July 2016. It's worth noting that on that very same day another draft bill was submitted to the State Duma relating to the broadcasting of administrative cases heard by arbitrazh courts as well as civil disputes in courts of general jurisdiction. So similar restrictions established by draft laws have been planned for all categories of cases having even the smallest public element which may hold interest for the wider public. 

To date, broadcasting has not been duly regulated, with there simply being no relevant statutory provisions. If the draft law restricting broadcasting is enacted, the relevant statutory provisions will be applied by the presiding judge on a case-by-case basis. 

The most likely outcome of the legislative initiative will be a total ban on or widespread restriction of broadcasts from the courtroom, in line with the existing restrictions on video recordings and photographs. The legislators have also not left out those who would try to get around the prohibition in a contrived way, by recording proceedings in the courtroom and later making them available online. This is referred to as a "delayed broadcast".

The new rules could pose a threat to freedom of speech if over time it is found there are differences between what witnesses actually say in the courtroom and what is entered in the record of proceedings. With video recordings it is much easier to verify the factual content of testimony compared to what attorneys manage to catch from time to time when checking records of proceedings".

The full article is available here: "«Власть хочет сократить общественный контроль над судопроизводством»".