So a South African judge, in all his wisdom, has decided that the trial of Paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, will be broadcast live on radio, with some bits even available on TV. Now, we’re not au fait with the state of the legal system in SA but it looks like this judge wants to make an example of Pistorius and show that the system doesn’t discriminate when it comes to defendant’s finances. Apparently South Africa has a problem with rich people getting off and poor people being thrown to the sharks.
Whilst three media outlets in the country that campaigned for the cameras are celebrating this as a victory we’re more than a little sceptical of its value. That being said we thought we’d take a look at what the highlights of the trial might be.
1. Hearing Reeva Steenkamp mentioned by name and not sexist adjectives
The media had a field day when the story broke and the Daily Mail was close to running out of words to describe Reeva, until it remembered it hadn’t actually used her name and had opted instead for curvy, blonde, beauty, model and girlfriend on repeat. Don’t quote us but we’re fairly certain everyone involved in the trial will actually have to use her name, for legal reasons you understand, not just the fact that she was a bloody human being.
2. What The Sun does
Failing to see how using a scantily clad picture of Reeva to illustrate the story of her murder was beyond inappropriate was a great moment for The Sun. Of course it meant readers that day got double the dose of ‘hot ass’ in their paper. We’re surprised they didn’t give her a posthumous slot on Page 3.
3. What Oscar’s wearing
Picture captions and voice-overs galore as 24 hour news channels desperately try to fill time when nothing is happening. Perhaps Kelly Osborne can rock up and ask who he’s wearing that day in court. Ya know, to leave no angle uncovered and give the people what they want.
4. Social media speculation and campaigns
What will the suggested hashtag be? Will Mastercard’s PR agency send all journalists a helpful reminded of how to tweet and what the hashtag is like they did for The Brits? Perhaps #PricelessSurprise can work for this too…
We’re also looking forward to seeing who gets arrested, sued or ticked off for saying something defaming/illegal/rude/stupid (delete as appropriate) on social networks. It’s bound to happen, don’t let us down.
5. Learning about Oscar’s sex life
Leaked documents allegedly say that Oscar was surfing the net for porn on his phone the night he shot Reeva. Clearly that means he’s a bad man who shot her deliberately, because according to this particular report looking at porn is in direct contrast to “a loving couple spending their time together”. We can’t wait to hear what other gems the prosecution comes out with in relation to this.
6. The Verdict
We remember the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor and boy, what a gut-wrencher that was! We’ll have the popcorn ready with betting slip in hand – we’re sure there’ll be some good odds on the outcome from one of the many betting outlets littering the planet.
Broadcasting the trial makes it less about Reeva and more about the posturing of the South African legal system whilst it attempts to prove a point and an athlete trying to maintain his innocence in this case. The media might think it’s won in the courtroom but we don’t see any winners from where we’re sitting.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR