The next seven days will have news addicts and global media focused on South Africa as the Shrien Dewani (#Dewani) honeymoon murder trial starts in Cape Town on Monday, and Oscar Pistorius prepares for sentencing next Monday, 13 October.
But while the Pistorius sentencing will be delivered live to a screen near you – TV, computer or mobile device – the Dewani trial will not be shown live due to the suspect’s ongoing medical issues related to claims he has post traumatic stress disorder.
National Prosecuting Authority head in the Western Cape, Rodney de Kock, said media would have limited access to court proceedings. They will be allowed to take stills photographs, and silent video clips, but there will be no electronic recordings allowed.
“I have been apprised of the defence team’s fear that any unregulated media access to their client may impact negatively on his health and result in a relapse. I obviously share their concern since this will impact negatively on the trial and result in undue delays,” De Kock wrote.
The Hindocha family, Anni Dewani’s parents and relatives, held an open press conference on Sunday evening. They said they respected the court’s decision, saying they were sure the court had its reasons.
Interest in the upcoming trial is growing hourly. eNews Channel Africa (@eNCAnews) has flighted a special documentary, The Untold Story of Anni Dewani, which can be viewed online. It uses exclusive footage of the victim as a young girl, and interviews with close friends and family. eNCA reporter Leigh-Anne Jansen (@LA_JANSEN) is reporting on the story from inside court and has interviewed Anni’s family ahead of the trial. They have asked that media respects their privacy during the proceedings.
Dewani is accused of being the mastermind behind his new wife’s hijacking and murder. She was shot in the neck in Gugulethu near Cape Town in November 2010. Three South African men have already been convicted of her murder, but one of the men, Zola Tongo, named her husband as having put a hit on her. It has taken the NPA four years to secure Dewani’s extradition from his native United Kingdom, where he was committed to an institution to deal with his PTSD.
In the interim, claims that Dewani was gay and enjoyed sadomasochistic sex have emerged and will doubtless feed the frenzy when evidence of this nature is led. Marianne Thamm, writing for the Daily Maverick, has dug deeper. She says the trial “will cleave open the clandestine world of sadomasochistic sex as well expose why a young woman might reluctantly but willingly enter into a relationship with a man she clearly doubted from the start”.
While this trial might not be broadcast live, various media organisations will be monitoring and analysing every detail that comes before Cape Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso.
And data will play a role, says media intelligence company ROi Africa‘s managing director, Tonya Khoury. ROi provided Pistorius trial statistics to top media outlets such as Carte Blanche, 702, SAFM (The Media Show), RSG, Associated Press, ANN7 and Rapport.
“The collation and aggregation of media in one central point – like with traditional media monitoring – combined with clever algorithms, have resulted in an extremely valuable tool that helps us in providing these insights,” says Khoury.
“”Smart Technology is used to identify trends across all media platforms worldwide – over 2000 titles that are taken from hard copy to digital format – and converted using the finest global reading technology. Broadcast media is converted from the verbal word to text within two seconds of it being aired – all with the help of Smart Technology. Immediate coverage is drawn from an excess of 200 million platforms in online and social media,” Khoury says.
IMAGE: Still from eNCA documentary, The Untold Story of Anni Dewani
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