Oscar trial wins newsmaker of the year

Reading Time: 3 minutes

National Press Club has declared the Oscar Pistorius criminal case as the 2014 Newsmaker of the Year at the function held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria on Friday night.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke the guest speaker said the electronic and print coverage of the Oscar trial was a ground breaking episode in the history of court reporting in this country.

The trial that received national and international live coverage even on social media gave the general public the opportunity to experience first-hand court process from the beginning to the end.

National Press Club in partnership with the North West University announced the Oscar Pistorius trial as the winner of the Newsmaker Award of the Year 2014.

Moseneke says the Oscar Pistorius trial which was reported and beamed worldwide from the High Court in Pretoria set new court reporting standards.

Without getting into the merit of the case Moseneke says the broadcasting live of the trial proceedings did not only promote access to court; but encouraged the public through various social media and network to be co-part of the notion of participants.

Judge Moseneke says that “The Preamble of the Constitution contemplates a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and attest to requires that our democracy shall ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness. The public is entitled therefore to have access to courts and obtain information pertaining to what courts do.

“In traditional African culture the shade of a tree was a place where the community would meet for a Lekgotla. There was room for all to have their say. Everyone was an active participant of the process.”

National Press Club chair Jos Charle says they recognised the importance of the Oscar Pistorius case as a ground breaking episode in the history of the media.

Charle says awarding the Oscar Pistorius trial the status of the newsmaker of the year is not the celebration of the gruesome incident.
“Oscar Pistorius is not the winner.

“This is merely recognition for the way in which the media operatives did their jobs and conduct themselves. It is also appropriate at this point we pause and remember that a family is still mourning for a beautiful and intelligent daughter whose life was cut short. The National Press Club sends its warm thoughts to Mr. and Mrs. Steenkamp over the loss of their daughter Reeva,” says Charle.

The journalist and editors of the year Awards went to George Mazarakis from the Cart Blanche team.

– By Neo Makwiting