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Is the media banning the media?

11 March 2014, 07:13

During day six of the Oscar Pistorius trial, Judge Thokozile Masipa banned media outlets from live tweeting.

This came before Pathologist, Professor Gert Saayman reported on Reeva Steenkamp’s injuries from the night she was murdered on February 14 2013.

Saayman stated that the nature of autopsy report had a number of sensitive issues within it and implored Judge Masipa not to allow live coverage of the details stating the "very personal nature of the findings" and “graphic details of the injuries have the potential to compromise the dignity of the deceased

It may "harm the rights" of friends and family of the deceased" and it “goes against the morals of society".

Judge Masipa’s decision was the correct one but I have one objection to the situation.

Throughout the autopsy report, journalists photographed Pistorius retching, crying and at his utmost worst.

I am in no way defending his actions but the way in which the media, news channels and social media are treating the Pistorius case is shocking and overly sensationalized.

There were tweets emerged during the autopsy report in court, before any official news reports were released, that were filled with lies and exaggerated details. A number of tweets that emerged claimed that Reeva Steenkamp had bruises consistent with abuse prior to the shooting. This was a complete as nothing of the sort was said by the Saayman during his report to the court.

Those following the case “religiously” are forgetting that this is not a soap opera. A young woman lost her life and it has caused great ripples.

As a democratic country, we do have the right to know what is taking place but I find things are going too far.

Live tweeting the trial is one thing but to be dedicating hours upon hours of television to this case is ludicrous and unproductive to all parties involved in the trial.

Furthermore, a number of points during the trial over the last six days, viewers were able to listen in on court proceedings and yet those live tweeting were not allowed to share what was taking place in the courtroom. This mildly hypocritical as if we are too cover the Pistorius case, we need to do so properly and honestly.

Journalists and those following the case need to be careful with what is said because it is easy to twist or change the meaning of simple phrases said in court through the ambiguities of the media.

As Jim Morrison once said, “whoever controls the media, controls the mind."
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