On October 5th, the Alliance joined an application, submitted to the DC Circuit Court, requesting audiovisual access to the United States v. Donald J. Trump trial related to the January 6th events, currently scheduled for March 2024. The Alliance also joined a media coalition letter, led by Ballard Spahr, to the Judicial Conference of the Administrative Office of the United State Courts urging a change to Rule 53 to allow audiovisual access to the trial and other criminal proceedings. The application and letter outline how this criminal trial against a former President is historic and unprecedented, and the public and the media have a right to access the trial. Audiovisual coverage is necessary to provide accurate, timely, and meaningful access to the media and the public, and the per se ban on audiovisual access is unconstitutional. To only allow the few members of the press and public who can get a seat in the courtroom to observe the trial does not satisfy the First Amendment. The Alliance will continue to support efforts to allow greater access for journalists and the public to observe trials, especially those with historic significance.
Charlotte McBirney is Senior Counsel and Director, Public Policy for the News/Media Alliance.