A South African judge has ruled that television stations can broadcast parts of Oscar Pistorius' murder trial live, but with restrictions on witness testimonies.
High Court Judge Dunstan Mlambo ruled on Tuesday (25 FEB. 2014) that South African media houses will be allowed to install three remote controlled cameras in the court for the Olympic athlete's trial starting next week, to capture images that likely will be seen by millions around the world.
Pistorius' defence lawyers had opposed any part of the trial being broadcast, saying it would harm his chances of receiving a fair trial.
Opening arguments by the prosecution and the defence can be shown live, Mlambo said, along with the presiding judge's decision and sentencing, should double-amputee Pistorius be convicted of murder for the shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Expert witnesses' testimony can be shown, but not that of Pistorius or "his witnesses," he said in his judgment from a court in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.
Lawyer Marius du Toit agreed that restrictions on witness testimonies were necessary.
"They are people that might not necessarily be comfortable speaking in public and now suddenly they have to come and testify in an open court and not only be testifying, they are scrutinized worldwide. Every word they say is being publicized worldwide and I think for that purpose that might be an argument in favour of saying listen, it must be limited," du Toit told the Associated Press.
Restrictions could also be placed on other witness testimony if they object to their time in court being shown on TV, Mlambo said in his judgement.
The court would then consider showing such testimonies from behind the witness or obscuring their face.
No parts of confidential discussions between Pistorius and his lawyers can be broadcast in any way, he said.
The applications to broadcast the trial were brought by a South African television news station, a cable provider which will launch a 24-hour channel focusing on the Pistorius trial, and a radio news network.