Oslo District Court denies broadcast of Breivik’s testimony to the public
The Oslo District Court (Tingrett) announced on Friday that the press should not be allowed to film Anders Behring Breivik’s testimony in court, reports Aftenposten.
Aftenposten writes that the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) will record the entire trial and broadcast it live from the Oslo District Court to several regional district courts. The court, however, has decided that only the opening and closing remarks of the prosecutors and defence lawyers, as well as the reading of the verdict by the judge, shall be broadcast to the general public.
Verdens Gang (VG) writes that the Oslo District Court has postponed making a decision on whether testimonies of expert witnesses or police investigators should be allowed to be broadcast to the public.
“A testimony in front of open camera could contribute to shift focus from the actions he is accused of towards his ideological and political message,” Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen wrote in the decision, reports NRK. The statement is surprising as citizens have the right to defend themselves in court against charges brought against them by the state by explaining the reasons for their actions.
Breivik has previously told the court that he is a cell commander of an organization called the Knights Templar, and that he represents the Norwegian resistance movement. In police questioning, Breivik has explained that he belives the attacks were gruesome but necessary, and that the widespread censorship in Norwegian society of ideas critical of multiculturalism makes armed struggle necessary.
Leader of the Norwegian Editors Association (Norsk Redaktørforening), Nils Øy, said in an interview with Agderposten that the court announces its own failure when it uses as its main argument that it does not wish Breivik to have an opportunity to speak about his ideology. It is the task of the judges to make sure that Breivik stays on topic in court, and to interrupt him if he attempts anything else, Øy explained to the newspaper. “Here we stand ahead of the trial of the possibly worst crimnal act in historic times in Norway,” he says.
In their application for broadcasting from the trial, the Norwegian Editors Association and the Norwegian Press Association emphasized that the broadcasting of the court would provide an important opportunity for the public to check the conduct of the court. However, as the recent publication of the indictment and reporting from the last court proceeding show, the Norwegian press frequently censors or omits factual details. Despite a large number of journalists being present at the February court hearing, only two publications appear to have published the brief statement Breivik made in its entirety. Because of incidences such as these, many informed readers in Norway have a deep distrust of the media, and are not confident that media reporting from the trial will be accurate. It is against this background that the importance placed by the Norwegian Editors Association and the Norwegian Press Association on a live broadcast must be understood. A live broadcast would help reduce speculation by the general public as to whether the trial was fair.
Usually regular citizens have the opportunity to attend trials so that they can see for themselves whether the judge follows the law. Apparently, however, this will not be the case in the trial against Breivik. A large number of seats in the courtroom have been reserved for news organisations, whose lack of thoroughness in reporting is ironically reflected by the fact that the list of news organizations that have requested accreditation has not been published anywhere else than on this blog. In addition, the Oslo District Court has announced that it will give preferential treatment to victims of the attacks and their relatives when deciding who shall be given access to the limited number of seats available to the public in the court room. According to newspaper reports, it seems that, in reality, this policy will make it impossible for members of the general public to follow the trial.
Thus it appears that the court places little emphasis on the importance of maintaining the tradition common in democracies in which regular citizens can follow trials in order to control whether the judges in question follow the law, and to check if the press accurately reports what is being said during the trial.
Breivik’s appearance in court is expected to be important for the court in deciding whether Breivik is legally accountable or not. Denying the broadcast of Breivik’s testimony will, therefore, make it very difficult for the general public to evalute whether the judgement of the court in this matter seemed reasonable, and to what extent the Oslo District Court had upheld justice in this case.
The decision to allow the broadcast of several participants in a trial, but not the person accused, also indicates that the court is not concerned about being perceived as partial. This is noteworthy, as both the Justice Department and Supreme Court were victims of the bomb attack in Oslo, and Breivik has stated in court that he does not recognize the Oslo District Court as legitimate because he believes the court receives its authority from the Labor Party.
But the press will film portions of the trial, including the reading of the indictment.
The Oslo District Court said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The court on application from the Association of Norwegian Editors and the Norwegian Press Association issued the press permission to broadcast the opening of main proceedings in which the indictment read out, and introductions from the prosecutor and defense counsel in the case.
In addition, the press allowed to film during the closing procedures in the July 22-trial.
Under the procedures summarizes the prosecutor and defense counsel that has emerged during the presentation of evidence and draw conclusions about guilt, questions about mental incapacity and a penalty. Also verdict will be open for filming.
The media will not broadcast the parts of the trial in which Behring Anders Breivik explains itself. The same applies when the victim from Utøya and government quarter explanatory.
This is in line with what the practice has been in previous trials….
Original article: Pressen får ikke filme Behring Breiviks forklaring
Oslo City Court does not allow media to film Behring Anders Breivik’s testimony in the trial against him starting in April.
The district court decided on Friday the scope of what can be transferred directly from the terror case. Permission is granted to the opening of the trial and the parties’ opening speeches broadcast. Also the final procedures will be transferred.
Neither Breivik’s own testimony or the victim’s testimony, however, can be transferred directly. When the Oslo District Court has received evidence of the prosecution task, it will be decided whether the explanation from the professionals, like police investigators, or others may be transferred….
Original article: Breiviks forklaring kan ikke filmes
Cannot film Breivik in court
The court feared in part that openly would affect Breivik to talk more about politics than about the acts he has committed….
Because of very great public interest, has a total Norwegian press corps asked Oslo District Court if you send the greater part of the July 22 trial, than is normal in major criminal cases.
Also defending Geir Lippestad have requested the most transparency on behalf of his client.
The terrorist suspect 33-year-old has even asked for minimal restrictions on filming during the trial because he wants to reach out to as many people as possible.
In her statement writes Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen, among other things:
“The court believes there is a real danger that the defendant’s testimony would be affected if the broadcast, directly or edited broadcasts. One explanation for the open camera will be able to contribute to turning the focus away from the actions he is accused of, and against his ideological and political message….”
General secretary, Nils E. Øy, in the Norwegian Editors’ Association is disappointed with the decision of the court, and alerts rematch. Friday it was investigated whether the decision from the Oslo District Court could be appealed to the Court of Appeal.
It was unclear whether there was such a possibility, but likely to appeal court to make a decision on this issue within a few days, said.
Original article: Får ikke filme Breivik i retten
Rematch on televised Breivik
The judges in the case of terrorism fears that Anders Breivik Behring will testify differently in court if what he says will be broadcast in the media….
Chairman Nils Øy in the Norwegian Editors’ Association is disappointed with the decision of the court. The main argument of the judges for denying the transfer is that they will not give Breivik a soapbox for his ideology, experience Øy as an admission of failure from the judges. He says it is their job to keep Breivik to issue and cancel his explanation if he tries to talk about something else.
“Here we are facing the trials for perhaps the worst crime in historical time in Norway, said Øy to emphasize the importance of the case….”
Original article: Omkamp om TV-overført Breivik