In South Africa, according to the Criminal Procedure Act, the accused person has a right to a fair trail, which includes: To be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. (Information obtained by: Reporting the courts, A handbook for South African Journalists page 87).
The terminology used by reporters should be: The alleged suspect or accused (Information obtained by: Reporting the courts, A handbook for South African Journalists page 25).
So now I ask you why the media are saying the following in the Oscar Pistorius case:
- Eyewitness News: Meanwhile, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius who shot and killed Steenkamp, will only find out how many more charges have been added to his murder charge when he appears in the Pretoria Magistrates Court later this morning.
- eNCA: In last nights broadcast, they said: Oscar Pistorius gunned down his girlfriend, and then only later in the story they said allegedly.
Where is the alleged part? What are the writers of the bulletins and on line publications thinking? What happened to innocent until proven guilty in a court of law no matter what people think they know?
Anyways, I have another thing to talk about today…
These Oscar jokes going around… REALLY?
I got one last night that just made me so mad. It said: Oscar is guilty because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Oh my word… how low and common can you get? I was so mad, that I put the following on Twitter, Facebook and on my BBM Status: Oscar allegedly shot his girlfriend. We get it. It is tragic. But please do not send Oscar jokes to me. Like my niece says: It is not funny. A family is in mourning and another is worried about their child. Think about that.
Yes, think about it, cause it can happen to anyone. I know that we South Africans deal with a lot of trauma and horror and that we are desensitised to these happenings and we use humour to get through it, however, there is a time to joke and a time to be serious and when it is close to home, people should think about what they say.
*I am no attorney, but we were taught these things in Media Law, a subject I had to take to obtain my Degree in Journalism.
** The comments in this blog are my own.