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SC journalists now face stricter dress code and movement rules (law degree requirement remains)

Would Woodward & Bernstein dresscodes fly in SC?
Would Woodward & Bernstein dresscodes fly in SC?

The Supreme Court legal correspondent accreditation rules were changed to enforce stricter dress codes, and limits on permissible entry spaces, on journalists reporting the Supreme Court’s proceedings.

According to Rule 7A, inserted in the new notified on 03.01.2007 rules, temporary and permanent court-reporters will have to dress in a “formal attire befitting the decor of the court"and prominently display their identity cards, and restrict their movement to an “area prescribed”. The rule states that the journalists are supposed “to maintain decorum in court and refrain from doing such things as may disturb the proceedings of the court and shall confine to the area prescribed” and making a “serious endeavor of reporting a faithful account without any distortions and embellishments”.

The new rules also reduce the time for which a journalist has been continuously court-reporting, from the earlier five years to 3.5 years now, in case the journalist is only applying for temporary accreditation.

However, for permanent accreditation, journalists with law degrees still need to be continuously court-reporting for at least 5 years, like in the old rules that had caused controversy between media and the bench.

The rules also note that grant of accreditation and its withdrawal are the prerogative of accreditation committee as constituted by the Chief Justice, and that the committee is not liable to give any reasons for its decision.

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