A New Zealand judge has taken the unprecedented step of banning news websites from naming two men charged with murder while allowing newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks to reveal the names of the men. Judge David Harvey said online media could not use the names or publish images of the accused, to prevent the public searching for the information when the case comes to trial. He said he was “concerned about Googling someone’s name and being able to access it later.” Obviously, anyone on the web can get the names of the accused simply by purchasing a copy of a New Zealand newspaper.
The two men are charged with murdering a 14 year-old boy while in the process of committing a robbery. The case, however, introduces new legal questions about what can or can not be placed on digital media. One also wonders what happens after someone gets the names from the morning newspaper and then uses that information online. Will they be considered to be in violation of a court order?