No More Cell phones, Computers or Tweeting in Maryland Courtrooms
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A judiciary rules committee in Maryland anticipates adopting a statewide policy next month banning people from taking communication devices such as cell phones and computers into the state’s courtrooms. This poses difficulties for journalists and citizens covering trials, especially those using a method called “live tweeting”.

Twitter is a web service which allows individuals to post 140 character messages via cell phone or computer onto Twitter’s website for public viewing. Twitter has been utilized as both a private social networking tool and as an alternative media source. Notably Twitter has been extensively used by Iranians during protests against the government, providing details that outside media sources could never gain access to. It is also utilized frequently by the media in court room trials, allowing reporters to provide minute to minute updates to the public.

Last month in Maryland a judge banned posts to sites like Twitter from the Circuit Court during Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s corruption trial. Supporters of the ban believe it will keep witnesses “safer” and reduce disruptions. Opponents say the restrictions are too harsh and unrealistic. Several states and counties, including Colorado and New York, have or are considering adopting policies which ban the use of certain electronic devices from the court room.



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