Pistorius broadcast ruling due on Tuesday

The athlete’s lawyers are opposing the application by various media houses.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius during his bail hearing in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on 19 August 2013. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

PRETORIA - Judge Dunstan Mlambo will deliver his judgment on Tuesday on whether the media will be permitted to broadcast the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius.

Several media houses, including MultiChoice and Eyewitness News , approached the Pretoria High Court seeking permission to broadcast the trial, which starts on 3 March.

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria East home on 14 February 2013.

Pistorius and Steenkamp at the Feather Awards, 4 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

He claims it was an accident due to mistaken identity, but the state will argue it was murder.

Legal counsel for the various media houses argued that permitting live broadcasts would enhance the principle of open justice.

They are seeking permission to broadcast live audio of all proceedings and televise testimony, except where a witness objects.

Advocate Frank Snyckers says a live broadcast would offer the public an unfiltered account of proceedings.

Acting on behalf of Pistorius, Advocate Barry Roux said witnesses would feel inhibited while answering questions if the matter was broadcast.

In turn, Advocate Steven Budlender argued that Roux supplied inadequate evidence that witnesses would be affected, adding that it is implausible that expert witnesses would feel intimidated.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has not opposed the application after reaching an agreement with MultiChoice and Eyewitness News .

EWN Editor-in-Chief Katy Katopodis says the decision to launch the application was carefully considered.

She adds that portions of the trial need to be broadcast in the public interest.

Katopodis believes the matter could set a precedent.

She says it's an important case for the courts to decide for the media industry.

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