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Cameras in Courtrooms

Criminal Proceedings
Electronic media coverage of criminal proceedings in federal courts has been prohibited since 1946. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 provides:

"Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom."

Civil Proceedings
Electronic media coverage of civil proceedings in federal courts is governed by the following policy.

A judge may authorize broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and in adjacent areas during investitive, naturalization, or other ceremonial proceedings. A judge may authorize such activities in the courtroom or adjacent areas during other proceedings, or recesses between such other proceedings, only:

  1. for the presentation of evidence;
  2. for the perpetuation of the record of the proceedings;
  3. for security purposes;
  4. for other purposes of judicial administration;
  5. for the photographing, recording, or broadcasting of appellate arguments; or
  6. in accordance with pilot programs approved by the Judicial Conference.

When broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing in the courtroom or adjacent areas is permitted, a judge should ensure that it is done in a manner that will:

  1. be consistent with the rights of the parties;
  2. not unduly distract participants in the proceeding; and
  3. not otherwise interfere with the administration of justice.