No More Live-Tweeting Allowed In Quebec Courts

If you’re a journalist found of live-tweeting breaking news, this post may sadden. Well, if you’re Canadian it might.

It seems Quebec courts do NOT appreciate this little bit of technology and have banned live-tweeting from courtrooms.

There’s a teeny tiny loophole though. Small enough to squeeze a few tweets through.


Maclean’s reports that Quebec courtrooms will become Twitter-free zones, starting today, thanks to “new rules governing the use of electronic communications and technology.”

As other Canadian jurisdictions weigh whether to allow tweets and texts from the confines of a courtroom, Quebec judges have decided to put an end to the practice.

The new directives ban emails, tweets and text messages from the courtroom without the consent of a judge, although lawyers and journalists will be able to use the electronic devices for taking notes.

Live-tweeting is controversial, of course, because news sources are often in such a rush to report things first, they’re not always as concerned (as they should be) with getting these facts right.

When it comes to live-tweeting from courtrooms, it potentially provides criminals with the media attention that many of them crave. And then there’s that whole “scary technology” argument:

Reactions to the proposed ban have been mixed. One Montreal defence lawyer who herself is prolific on Twitter welcomed the rules, saying neither the legal community nor journalists were ready for social media in the courtroom.

A columnist countered that the rules are a step backward and that it will be up to the courts to adapt.

Groups representing the media have been critical of the rules, calling them hasty and overblown.

Brian Myles, president of the Quebec Federation of Journalists, says he believes the judiciary acted too quickly and overreached in applying a blanket rule to all courts after just a few experiences with the technology.

So what’s the loophole?

You can still type on a tablet and you can still tweet as long as you’re not IN the courtroom, soooo . . . download Hootsuite (or some other program that allows you to preschedule tweets) and queue up the tweets to post once you step outside on a break.

You’ll still be “live-tweeting” but all in one burst. Loyal followers will forgive you – and potentially thank you!

(Bird image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.
Publish date: April 15, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT