The trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on August 25th almost became the first televised trial but it was decided to be disapproved two days before the trial. After this case, the controversy of televising trials has become fiercer. This is because the Lee Jae-yong trial was the case that caught the public’s eye and the regulation was also revised. However, the court didn’t allow the broadcast. The court said “the disadvantage to Lee is greater than the public good if the trial is televised.” The trial of Won Sae-hoon, the former National Intelligence Service (NIS) chairman, was also disallowed to be broadcast, so the effectiveness of the revised system was caught up in controversy. How is the amount of public interest that enables the trial to be televised measured? Shouldn’t the citizens’ views be the main indicator?
The first reason to allow televising trials is to expand the public's right to know. You cannot conclude that the public is not related to the trial because anyone could be or have been a victim. If the majority of people believe televising the trial meets their rights to know, opening the trial is reasonable for the public right. Like now, if judges continue to decide whether to allow televising or not, it is the same story that the meaning of the revised rule is faded. Moreover, according to the Korean Media Promotion Foundation, 84 percent of the respondents among 1041 people agree to televise the major cases. Allowing the broadcast of the trial is a way to satisfy the public’s rights to know and reflect their opinions.
Second, publicity and reliability can be increased. Until now, the sentencing is too long so it was called “suffocating sentencing”. If the trial is televised, judges will try to write sentencing more easily and the understanding of the judgment rises. Most of all, as the public is watching the trial, the court would reach a verdict more cautiously. And this leads to the enhancement of fairness and reliability in justice. The need of televising trials has been constantly pointed out for a long time. Therefore, by allowing televised trials, it would be possible to get such positive effects.
Finally, not only in Korea but also abroad, the range of trials that are televised is widening. In the case of the United States, except for Washington DC, 50 states allow for the public to watch the first and second trial in principle through TV live broadcast. This is because they consider the right to know as important. However, federal courts including the Supreme Court release the recording of the argument after the trial. The UK Supreme Court allows to televise the entire process of trials, and the International Criminal Court is likewise able to relay trials. Other countries that allow broadcasting include Australia and Spain.
The reason why there are differing views when it comes to televising the trial is that the importance of public interest and the defendant’s human rights are weighed differently. However, the trial of national affairs, such as the “Choi Soon-sil Scandal”, need to be allowed to be televised. When guilt is obvious, the public should be guaranteed the right to know as it triggers the anger of many people. Also, there is a positive effect in increasing the publicity and credibility of the trial, and a number of foreign countries are widening the coverage range of trials. Still, it is necessary to elaborate on the law, but ultimately, trials should be televised.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >