Media reporting was also at the centre of Re L (A child: media reporting) (2011) which concerned a fact-finding hearing in care proceedings. It is noteworthy for His Honour Judge Bellamy's comments on media reporting of the case, in particular two articles written by Christopher Booker, a campaigner against the child protection system, in the Daily Telegraph. The case, which concerned how a six week old boy had sustained multiple fractures (the judge finding that the mother was responsible for the injuries caused), attracted significant media attention. The articles that appeared in the press were founded, in part at least, upon information given to the journalists by the baby's mother. Not surprisingly, Judge Bellamy was critical of what Mr Booker had to say about the case. In his judgment, His Honour emphasised the importance of the freedom of the press to highlight shortcomings in the family justice system. He concluded:
"However, we should not lose sight of the fact that journalistic freedom brings with it responsibility, not least the responsibility to ensure fair, balanced and accurate reporting. So far as concerns the reporting of issues relating to family justice, the public needs to have the confidence that what it reads in the press is indeed fair, balanced and accurate. As Lord Hobhouse put it in Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd (2001) at p.238 'no public interest is served by publishing or communicating misinformation.' In my experience, parents involved in court proceedings cannot always be relied upon to be unbiased and dispassionate. More often, as Sir Nicholas Wall has said, they are partisan and tendentious. It is not only judges that need to recognise that but journalists too. As this case has shown, to rely uncritically upon what a parent says can lead to reporting that is unbalanced, inaccurate and just plain wrong."
Further details on the case can be found here