A publication ban is a court order which prohibits the public or media from disseminating certain details of an otherwise public judicial procedure. Publication bans are most commonly issued when the safety or reputation of a victim or witness may be hindered by having their identity openly broadcast in the press. They are also commonly issued when the crime involves minors or is sexual in nature.
Effective October 2005, the BC Court will operate a pilot project in the Vancouver registry to provide electronic notification to media outlets of applications that will be made for discretionary orders to ban publication or exclude the public from the courtroom in criminal or quasi-criminal matters. This notification will be done through an electronic e-mail subscription service maintained on the court’s website developed by OpenRoad Communications.
OpenRoad developed the Publication Ban Notification application, which provides timely information on publication bans to the public. The public is able to search for information about publication bans; subscribe to receive notification of applications; and notify subscribers of applications for discretionary publication bans. The system uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology to allow users to subscribe to the applications and be notified.