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Cameras In The Courtroom: The Spectacle Of The Depp-Heard Trial | Podcast

For anyone with a social media account, the defamation trial Johnny Depp brought against his ex-wife Amber Heard was impossible to miss. The judge had allowed TV cameras in the courtroom, so hours of tape could be trawled through for TikToks, tweets or Instagram content. While the jurors considered the case in the courtroom, another trial was taking place on social media.

Earlier this month, a seven-person jury concluded that Amber Heard had defamed Johnny Depp when she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse” in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018. The jury also ruled in Heard’s favour, that she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer who called her allegations of abuse a “hoax’’, but much of the case’s nuances were lost on social media.

Paul Thaler, a professor of journalism at Adelphi University in New York, has written extensively on the impact of TV cameras in courtrooms. He tells Nosheen Iqbal about the history of televised cases, notably the phenomenon of media attention around the OJ Simpson case. US Guardian columnist Moira Donegan considers the impact the Depp-Heard case could have on anyone wanting to report domestic abuse.

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