Tuesday, February 18, 2014

BREAKING. eNCA - joined by MultiChoice and Primedia - to apply on Wednesday to televise the Oscar Pistorius muder trial.

The South African 24-hour TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403) will bring an application on Wednesday, 19 February, before the North Gauteng High Court to televise the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

ALSO READ: The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) wants the world to watch the Oscar Pistorius murder trial court proceedings live on television.

On Valentine's Day 2013, the Paralympic athlete, known as "The Bladerunner" shot and killed his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He will now stand trial from 3 March as he is accused of alleged premeditated murder.

eNCA says the TV news channel wants to televise the murder trial and will bring the court application tomorrow.

"Alternatively we will ask the court to permit use of audio only if television cameras are not permitted. We are acutely aware of the sensitivities around televising a criminal trial, and that many witnesses may not want to appear on TV".

MultiChoice and Primedia have joined eNCA's application.

"Over the past 10 years eNCA and sister company e.tv have made great strides in covering court cases," says the news channel. "It is now fairly common practice to allow cameras into court for arguments and judgments".

"On this basis we were granted limited access to the Schabir Shaik corruption trial, judgment in President Jacob Zuma's rape case as well as Julius Malema's appearance before the Equality Court".

"However broadcasting witness testimony has not been permitted to date in criminal matters," says eNCA.

"With the advent of social media networks it is now possible to offer real-time updates from the courtroom, which effectively amounts to live coverage albeit in a printed form".

"It is our view that micro-blogging is prone to inaccurate reporting, sensationalism and lacks context or nuance, while a broadcast of events can help audiences understand exactly what is being said and the tone in which testimony is delivered"

"The court will have to consider the need for openness and transparency in the justice system with the defendant's right to a fair trial," says eNCA. 

"We will argue that a balance can be struck with the courts in order to achieve both. eNCA will comment further after the application is heard. It is unclear when the High Court will rule on the matter".