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Court TV Has Backup in N.Y.

1/28/2005 2:46 AM Eastern

Two amicus groups have joined Court TV in its effort to overturn the ban on cameras in New York State courtrooms.

One group is made up of ABC, Cable News Network, CBS, Fox, Hearst Corp., NBC Universal, The New York Times, New York 1 News and Time Inc. The second is comprised of press associations including the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Both groups filed briefs with the New York Court of Appeals this week supporting Court TV's position that “the historic right of access to courtrooms is enhanced by the presence of cameras.”

The briefs argued that technological advances, coupled with the fact that most Americans get their news from television, makes cameras in court necessary for the American public to have appropriate access to the courts.

Both briefs concluded that the current ban on cameras in court in New York “is an unconstitutional abridgment of the freedoms of speech and press preserved by both the United States and New York State constitutions.”

“We welcome the support of these prestigious groups to the Court TV effort to allow viewers to see, unvarnished, how courtrooms and, indeed, the entire justice system really works,” Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff said in a prepared statement. “Hopefully, the cogent arguments from these various entities will have an impact on the court's decision.”

The New York Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments this spring.

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