Newspaper body welcomes changes to coroners rules as step towards greater transparency

Local and regional newspaper trade body, the Newspaper Society, has welcomed new rules that will give journalists advance notice of inquests.

The rules for coroners also recommend that inquests should be conducted in public as much as possible.

The new Coroners (Inquest) Rules 2013 came into effect last month and state that the date, time and location of inquests should be made public before they take place.

The rules also advise that inquests are open to the public, unless doing so poses a risk to national security or, in the case of pre-inquest hearings, to judicial proceedings. However, access to inquest documentation, such as reports on how death could have been prevented, has been protected.

The Newspaper Society said the changes would help transparency when it came to reporting on inquests, adding that 

In a statement, the body said: "The NS and regional editors have maintained their opposition to threats of increased inquest secrecy and tighter controls over press access and reporting, with a succession of submissions and meetings with appropriate ministers and officials, as well as a meeting with the Chief Coroner.”

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