Media and the Judicial System

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  • The two systems intersect throughout the judicial process, often challenging the basic tenets of the Constitution, pitting defenders of the First Amendment's rights to a free press and free speech against staunch supporters of the Sixth Amendment—the right to a fair trial. The impact of the media on the judicial system is especially underscored during media trials—those trials that because of their content are subject to intense, often sensationalized, media coverage. However, aspects of media coverage in pretrial procedures, even before a case goes to trial, often prove contentious.

    For instance, once the grand jury has issued its report, witnesses in those proceedings are allowed to discuss their own testimony. Sensationalist journalism has sometimes been accused of deliberately thwarting the efforts of the justice system—so-called checkbook ...

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