Live broadcast, social media banned in Pistorius murder trial

The live broadcast and all social media reporting of the murder trial of South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius was today shut off, as the judge ordered the testimony of the pathologist giving evidence could not be reported.

“There shall be no live broadcast now … [and] that applies to Twitter,” said judge Thokozile Masipa, according to the South African Press Association (SAPA).

Pathologist Gert Saayman requested his evidence not be reported, saying the reporting of the “graphic details” would contravene the “dignity of the deceased”, harm the rights of the family and friends of the victim, as well as going against the “morals of society”.

“I think that the very personal nature of findings that are made at an autopsy examination as well as the very graphic details have the potential to compromise the dignity of the deceased and I believe it is our duty to preserve the dignity of the deceased,” Saayman said.

“I think it goes against the good morals of society to make information of the nature available to vulnerable and unsuspecting people such as children if they are not timeously informed,” he said.

HumanIPO reported prior to the start of the case the court ruled in favour of allowing the live visual and audio broadcast of the trial, although conditional on the consent of the individual witnesses giving evidence; while social media reporting, and non-flash photography by two cameras was also allowed.

Nonetheless, on the second day of the trial, the case was adjourned as it emerged a photograph of a testifying witness had been broadcast by eNCA over the audio stream of her testimony, contrary to a court order.

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