A posting by Leicester Mercury editor Keith Perch on his blog caught my eye because it shows how important the local press is at keeping justice open.
"...here in Leicester, if judges had their way, you might be surprised how often people were locked away in secret. As Editor of the local paper, I am threatened with jail if I report the cases. Just in the past couple of weeks we have come across two such cases. In both, we have launched a legal challenge to the decisions of the courts to ban publication of details of the names of those charged and have won, overturning the decisions so that justice could not only be done, but be seen to be done."
An earlier post by Perch shows how the Mercury has journalists who cover the courts, councils and other vital services in a depth that no other news organisation can match. "The Mercury still has two reporters whose only job is to cover courts - it's all they do. We also have two full-time council reporters, two full-time business reporters, a health correspondent, an education correspondent and a social affairs correspondent. None of these is tied to their desk. They all run their own diaries, find their own stories, cultivate their own contacts - they decide whether or not they are at their desks or out and about."
Perch's posts reminded me of a comment by George Dearsley on his blog earlier this year: "Clever people talk of micro-blogging replacing local journalism. But what blogger will sit in Glossop magistrates court all day?"
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