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Pistorius trial: Media houses apply to broadcast Pistorius trial

Cape Town, South Africa - Several major media houses will Wednesday argue in the Pretoria High Court  for the Oscar Pistorius criminal trial to be broadcast live. A year ago, the double amputee, who is known as the blade runner, shot Reeva Steenkamp through his toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home and then claimed he mistook her for an intruder.

Multichoice, The Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel, which was set up specifically for the event, and Eyewitness News will seek audio of the full trial to be broadcast, and the evidence of the experts, police witnesses, and any other witnesses to be televised.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has not opposed the application.

The media houses will argue that the constitutional principle of open justice should extend to broadcasting the trial in the manner agreed to with the NPA.

The argument is that this will not affect fair trial rights and will best protect freedom of expression and the public's right to obtain accurate information about the trial as it unfolds.

'My team and I have been engaging with both sides since the middle of last year and gradually came to an understanding with the NPA,' said George Mazarakis, executive editor of The Oscar Pistorius Trial. 'We are proposing un-manned, remote controlled High Definition cameras in court. Should we succeed in this, we will make a pool feed available to all broadcasters.”

According to the justice department, around 300 journalists are expected to cover the case which gets underway on 3 March.

At least 107 witnesses are expected to testify during the trial.

Pana 20/02/2014