PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
JakeMuso
 
Comments: 0
Article views: 289
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all JakeMuso's badges.
 

Does media access to high profile cases really have positive aspects?

12 March 2014, 08:35
As we speak, all eyes and ears are fixed on the Oscar Pistorius trial and all the controversy surrounding what has become one of the biggest media circuses that we have ever seen.

Ever single word spoken in this trial has been expanded into articles upon articles of regurgitated facts and quotes.

However, what kind of effect will judge Thokozile Masipa's decision to allow media coverage of one of the biggest cases in South African history have on the future of all court cases in South Africa?

A phrase that has been used and abused since the day it was uttered for the very first time is "freedom" and even more particularly "freedom of speech" and more recently "freedom of the media" or press.  It seems that over the last few years that every challenge that humanity is faced with is countered by claims of having some sort of "freedom" threatened. 
Yes, we come from an oppressive past that for some unknown reason we can not let go of.

However, the freedoms we enjoy today are being expanded so much that we use these freedoms to get things we want.  When an unspeakable song is written, or a book published, or a movie made, the mere notion of having any part thereof censored or banned brings up immediate debates of "freedom of speech".

But I digress, media in all its forms known to us today, whether it be a newspaper, a video on YouTube or an MP3 on your cellphone, is essential in so many ways.  The free flow of information is in many ways bringing this world together and helping us as humans understand so many things.  We have evolved from searching through countless books in libraries to having any information we need handy at our fingertips anywhere we may find ourselves.

But as with many aspects of life, we as humans have learned to abuse these privileges.  We have decided to film sex, death, violence and all the other ugly this world has to offer and share it with everyone who lives under the blanket of the world wide web. 

I think we can agree that not EVERYTHING is meant to be shared. Surely you will listen to a song with a friend, but not sit in on him/her becoming intimate with his/her wife or husband? But all this is justified under the premise of the "free flow of information" or "freedom of the media". We can even go as far as arguing "freedom of speech".

So what does all of this have to do with the case of Oscar Pistorius? Well, when you look at it closely, allowing the media to cover this case live was one of the worst decisions that could have been made in the history of our legal system. 
When the media were granted access to, what can be argued to be the majority of this case, it was celebrated as a victory for the "freedom of the media" and "the free flow of information". The argument to cover this case was led by the notion that it's "in the public's interest to see that Oscar will be treated as any other civilian". 

Can we honestly regard what we have witnessed so far as the same treatment that will be granted to any other civilian when faced with the same situation? Would we be ambushed by the media every day of our trial? Will we be accompanied by security fit for a US President upon arriving at court? Will every word we say, and every tear we cry be stretched into countless articles detailing every second of our behavior?

The answer is no. The Oscar Pistorius trial has merely become one of the biggest cash cows in the history of media.

On the other end of the spectrum, and coming back to the negative impact this trial poses for our legal system, the impact of this trial has already become apparent within itself.  We have a man being accused of a very serious offence, however the defense uses the media coverage to imply that the trial has been compromised. It's as simple as that. 

With the sheer amount of media coverage this case has attracted, it's next to impossible to have any witness come in and reliably declare under oath that they have not been exposed to this coverage.  As we've seen today, the defense jumped upon the first notion that a witness was following the media coverage and used this to discredit the witness.

We've seen another aspect of this in that witness information that was read in court, was made available through the media. This is a serious danger to any person who are willing to testify in cases of this magnitude. 

It has been mentioned in many articles and I will mention it here again, the decision to 'broadcast' all the details of this case, will have an impact on future cases regarding the willingness of witnesses to come forward and testify.

This will remain a reality as long as the media is allowed access to what should be private proceedings. As long as the media covers any case live, the case will be compromised.
Our president would never allow live media inside an operating theater while he is receiving open heart surgery, would he? So why put another man's life at risk and 'contaminate' a trial like this?

From a legal standpoint, the current fiasco regarding the media coverage is any defense lawyer's dream, as it provides many footholds for proving that the witness testimonies have been compromised and surely also solidifies a case for an appeal, whatever the outcome may be.

In closing, we have to ask ourselves and consider whether we are taking all these "freedoms" that we enjoy today too far and abusing the principals provided therein.  It has become to easy to hide behind a list of 'rights' in gaining what we want, or avoiding sticky situations.  Media coverage is necessary to the extent that it remains what it set out to be, a neutral party to any situation merely reporting on the facts and not being present to such an extent that it materially influences the very events it reports on.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
ProJusticio
South Africa is in very grave dan...

If the ANC and the EFF get a two-thirds majority needed to tear up the Constitution that will be the beginning of the end for SA. Read more...

14 comments 648 views
Submitted by
Dr. G. Dharmaraja
NUMSA launching the left party

NUMSA has been expected to fulfill the longstanding dream of South Africa’s toiling masses: a new movement for socialism.  Read more...

3 comments 360 views
Submitted by
Trevor McArthur
In defence of the opposition to s...

To the security cluster ministers: It is not the EFF that is posing a threat to national security but yourselves! Read more...

4 comments 218 views
Submitted by
Inspired Parenting
Parenting Leaders

A new law is being drafted in SA to stop parents smacking their children. This is extremely good news. Read more...

15 comments 252 views
Submitted by
JohnDough
Denied access to your children?

I understand that each and every divorce case is different, but the denial of access and withholding of maintenance are way too often used as weapons.  Read more...

7 comments 366 views
Submitted by
lizeka.maduna
Vagrants took to the streets

Scores of Vagrants took to the streets in Durban on Friday. Durban whoonga addicts paraded down West Street to the Durban City hall to hand over a memorandum to eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo.  Read more...

6 comments 436 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.