Sunday, December 16, 2018

Australian sexual abuse case raises questions about gag orders

By CJR, Dec. 14, 2018

IF A JUDGE IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY issues an order preventing the media from discussing a trial, do media outlets in the US have a duty to abide by that order? Or is there a larger duty to keep the public informed? This isn’t a hypothetical example. An Australian court just found Cardinal George Pell, at one time the #3 official in the Vatican and a former Archbishop of Sydney, guilty of sexual abuse of two choirboys in the 1990s. But news outlets in that country couldn’t report the conviction because of what is known as a “suppression order,” which bans any mention of Pell’s name or the details of the case. The Melbourne Herald Sun ran a front page with the word “Censored!” in large type on the day after the conviction was handed down.
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