Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No broadcast, no tweets as doc testifies at Pistorius trial

Professor Gert Saayman was the tenth witness to take the stand at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria, South Africa. He told the court he had ethical issues with his testimony being broadcast live.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that Saymaan would provide graphic details on Reeva Steenkamp's condition after the shooting and the State was opposing the televising of this testimony.
Nel also said they would prefer to wait for a grief counsellor be present in court before starting.
A short adjournment was called to allow the media to oppose this application.
Saayman told the court there were three reasons why his testimony should not be broadcast.
1. The very personal findings and graphic details that emerge in an autopsy. These details have the potential to compromise Steenkamp's dignity. “It is our duty to preserve the dignity of the deceased,” said Saayman.
2. By such public and contemporaneous screening of the information, it is possible to impinge on the rights of friends and relations of deceased.
3. It goes against the good morals of society. Unaware people - including children - may be exposed to this kind of explicit information.
On behalf of the media opposing the application, advocate Nick Ferreira said broadcasters and other publications would compromise, that no exhibits would be published and that testimony would not be broadcast live, instead recorded and summarised.
He noted that their were potential risks in broadcasting the testimony, but he also cited the media's rights to freedom of expression, and that banning Saayman's testimony in advance could be jumping the gun, depending on what his testimony entailed.
Judge Thokozile Masipa on Monday ruled in favour of an application for all live broadcasts, including the use of Twitter, to be switched off for the duration of the testimony from state witness and pathologist Professor Saayman.

No comments:

Blog Archive