Project "SIR: The importance of appearances"


Together with our lead partner, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), our lab is launching a project designed to counter the presentation of suspects and accused persons as guilty, in courtrooms and public, particularly by the media.

The project, titled "The importance of appearances: How suspects and accused persons are presented in the courtroom, in public and in the media" is funded by the European Union's Justice Programme (2014-2020). In addition to the University of Vienna, further HHC partners for the project include: Aditus, Fair Trials Europe, Human Rights House Zagreb, Mérték, and Rights International Spain.

The project will further the correct implementation of Directive 2016/343, through a reduction of the presentation of suspects and accused persons in court and public in ways creating a perception of guilt. It will increase knowledge and capacities of stakeholders regarding respect for the presumption of innocence, identify good practices and provide guidance on how to present defendants, and sensitise public authorities, the media and the public to the importance of the manner in which defendants are presented.

In addition, the project will involve production of: an international comparative analysis research document; a pilot sociological survey and subsequent report; national court reports; national media reports on the presentation of defendants; comparative court-media reports; a database of good practices; and court/media toolkits; an advocacy film; a comparative regional report; a summary report; national and regional conferences and roundtables; press conferences; and advocacy materials.

The press release of the project was also published on the main website of the University of Vienna.