Supreme Court to Begin Live Streaming Hearings After Coronavirus Crisis

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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A hearing at the Supreme Court, 2019.
A hearing at the Supreme Court, 2019. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut has approved the photography and live broadcasts of Supreme Court hearings after the coronavirus crisis is over and manpower returns to normal.

The court's administration installed four closed-circuit cameras in one of the largest hearing chambers. As a pilot, journalists at the Supreme Court Sunday were able to watch a closed-circuit broadcast of the petition against the closure of the Knesset by Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 70

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The plan calls for one hearing a month to be broadcast initially; later Hayut and Supreme Court Vice President Hanan Melcer may decide to expand the broadcasts. The hearings to be broadcast will deal with precedents or important public issues such as the petition against the nation-state law.

Previous Supreme Court presidents refrained from moving ahead with the idea; Melcer has been working on it for the past year with Hayut’s approval.

The cameras will be operated by the Government Press Office and will be controlled from a booth that was built in Chamber C of the Supreme Court, which is one of the more spacious courtrooms and from which hearings will be broadcast during the run-in period.

The pilot was launched Sunday at the special request of the media to broadcast live the petition against Edelstein. This is only the second time the media has asked for a Supreme Court hearing to be broadcast live, the first being the hearing on a petition against the establishment of a committee to scrutinize the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police misconduct.

At that time, Melcer rejected the request, saying that the court was not yet ready for broadcasts.

At present, the law bans broadcasts and video with sound of court hearings unless a permit has been issued. The Supreme Court does not intend to seek a change in the law, but may grant a permit on a per-case basis.

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