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Guillaume Mazeau

The revolutionary trial: birth of a media justice

Le Temps des médias n°15, automne 2010, p. 111-125.


In 1789, revolutionary Justice becomes one of the most prominent means of democratization and social regeneration. Open to the citizens, the courts become part of the public space. During the revolutionary period, famous trials are thus regarded as events that do not only concern judicial specialists, but the whole nation. In this article, we argue that the Revolutionary period gives birth to an ambiguous relationship between the media and criminal justice: thanks to the growing importance of public opinion in the judicial practices, citizens are now able to control the defense of their own rights. Yet, in the same time, this interference of public opinion and media keeps weakening the independence of justice.

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