Names, photos of suspects tougher to publicize

A new Ministry of Justice directive has tightened rules governing the publication of names and photographs of suspects arrested over serious felonies.

Under the new law prosecutors must state exactly when personal details can be divulged and which media outlets can do so. Suspects will also have to be notified before their names and photographs are made public.

While agreeing on principle with the ministry’s directive, judges and prosecutors argue that notifying suspects prior to releasing their details undermines the objective, which is to help witnesses come forward, especially in terrorism and organized crime cases.

According to the new law, suspects may appeal the prosecutor’s decision within two days of being notified of the impending publication of their personal details.