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Sanef Statement on Pistorius’s judgment today

Sanef Media Statement : February 25 2014

The South African National Editors’ Forum welcomes Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo’s decision to allow media houses to broadcast portions of the Oscar Pistorius trial live.

In his ruling today, Mlambo permitted the media to broadcast the trial live, with the provision that any witness can request not to be televised, as suggested by the media in its application. Full audio of the trial will be available to the media to broadcast and two photographers will be allowed to take pictures of witnesses. Mlambo ruled that the media may broadcast evidence by experts, police and former police officers who worked on the case, state witnesses, opening and closing arguments but ruled that Pretorius’s evidence should not be televised.

Sanef believes Mlambo demonstrably tried to balance the right to freedom of expression, which undergirds the important principle of open justice, with Pistorius’s right to have a fair trial.

Sanef welcomes the judgment and believes it goes a long way in entrenching an open, democratic society envisaged in our constitution in terms of which justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.

Given the massive public interest in the case, we believe increased numbers of people in South Africa and around the globe will get an opportunity – though limited – to hear, form and express their opinions on issues related to the case based on facts. This judgment is a step in the right direction.