NPA sets conditions for Oscar Pistorius trial broadcast

2014-02-19 08:40

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has set down several conditions for media houses if they broadcast Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial.

But it will not say what these conditions are.

The North Gauteng High Court will today hear an application by media houses to broadcast the trial.

The application is being brought by TV news channel eNCA which is being joined by MultiChoice and Eyewitness News (EWN).

A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the upcoming trial will reportedly be launched on DStv a day before the star athlete goes on trial.

MultiChoice and EWN say they are proposing permission to use unmanned, remote-controlled high-definition cameras which will feed to all broadcasters if the application is successful.

The NPA says it will not oppose the application.

Pistorius is accused of killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year. His trial is expected to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court from March 3 to March 20.

It is not immediately clear if Pistorius’s legal team will oppose the application.

eNCA told News24: “With the advent of social media networks, it is now possible to offer real-time updates from the courtroom, which amounts to live coverage albeit in a printed form.

“It is our view that microblogging 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,” said eNCA.

“We will argue that a balance can be struck with the courts to achieve both. eNCA will comment further after the application is heard. It is unclear when the high court will rule on the matter.”

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