From banned interviews till Saturday Night Live: judicial appearance in the media and its limits

Judges live and work in a society and cannot be isolated. They enjoy freedom of expression, but it may jeopardize their impartiality or even their independence. A reasonable, constitutional balance needs to be struck in this field. Should a judge appear in a media? As a judge or as a private person? What type of media is she allowed to use? Giving an interview, appearing in TV shows, writing a blog, being active in social media? Is she allowed to talk about pending cases, the role of judiciary, problems in the judicial system, critics on the judicial administration, threat against the independence of judiciary, her personal life? Answering the theoretical questions about the judges’ presence in the media may help their everyday decisions.
The paper aims to assess these questions from a comparative point of view, using recent examples from the regulation and practice of several European and North-American countries and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.