Moscow judges discussed work in the information space with the public

Moscow judges discussed work in the information space with the public


Modernized court websites, social media accounts and mandatory responses to criticism—these and other recipes for successful information work with citizens were discussed on Wednesday in Moscow by representatives of the judicial community. It is important to reduce the distance between society and the judiciary, the chairman of the Council of Judges, Viktor Momotov, explained to his colleagues the day before: if the judicial system becomes a full-fledged primary source of information, then the media will have less room for interpretation, and society will begin to focus on the official position of the judiciary. It is also unacceptable to leave critical remarks in the media unanswered, according to the Council of Judges, because citizens perceive silence as agreement with criticism.

In its work to inform citizens, the judicial community relies on the websites and accounts of courts on social networks, it follows from the discussion that took place on the second day of the seminar-meeting of the chairmen of regional councils of judges. In total, there are now 2,307 websites of federal courts of general jurisdiction, 115 websites of federal arbitration courts, 84 websites of regional departments of the judicial department at the Supreme Court, 258 websites of bodies of the judicial community and 7818 websites of judicial districts of magistrates, according to the Council of Judges.

Also, at the end of last year, the Judicial Department approved a temporary procedure for creating accounts on the social network VKontakte, and all courts were required to acquire them. True, district courts have had problems verifying them as government organizations: they do not have a legal entity, and this, as it turned out, is a prerequisite for receiving a blue tick. But, in the end, it is not so important whether there is verification or not: if the page is regularly updated, then no problems arise, Deputy Head of the Judicial Department Eduard Sennikov reassured the audience. He also emphasized the importance of feedback: it is recommended not to turn off comments on social networks, since criticism of the work of the courts can be quite justified. However, not all court websites are yet informative enough, and the official pages on social networks of some courts have been created only formally and, in fact, do not work, Victor Momotov admitted the day before. The problem lies in the employment of secretaries and assistant judges, for whom information work is, in fact, an additional burden.

“All the reports, all the opinions that are presented from the councils of judges, they practically contain a cry from the heart that, of course, the workload has increased very seriously. Yes, this is so, dear colleagues, because if earlier part of the information work was carried out by journalists, I mean traditional media, now we are faced with the same work of creating content,” the chairman of the Commission of the Council of Judges on Communications shared with his colleagues with government agencies and the public, Chairman of the Arbitration Court of the North Caucasus District Vladimir Zakharov. The problem can be partly solved by creating united press services of courts at the regional level (there are already such in more than half of the regions), but we also need a system for promoting socially significant information in new media, a kind of strategy for working in social networks, he emphasized.

In addition, there needs to be an understanding of what content courts should promote. We are talking primarily about explanatory and even educational work, Mr. Zakharov clarified, because “trust in the courts depends on understanding what the courts do and how they work.” In addition, the problem remains the imperfection of functionality and the lack of a unified site architecture. Therefore, several regional courts were asked to test the modernized website format, aimed at more effective work in social networks, before July 1. It is expected that by the end of the year the new interface will be implemented everywhere.

In addition, according to Vladimir Zakharov, the Council of Judges is working on comments to the Code of Judicial Ethics, which will propose algorithms for responding to distorted information about the activities of judges and responding to public criticism. But first we need to collect and summarize existing experience.

Anastasia Kornya


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