Johannesburg - Media coverage of the political future of our country will most probably play second fiddle to the Oscar Pistorius trial – if a media monitoring company is to be believed.
The Paralympian’s case dominated headlines and airtime for weeks when the case first began in March, followed by a second resurgence of media popularity when the athlete took the stand for a full gruelling week.
So much so that, according to DDI Africa, a media monitoring organisation, when the public protector’s Nkandla upgrades report was released, for every article on Thuli Madonsela’s findings there were three focusing on Pistorius.
The managing director at DDI Africa, Tonya Khoury, told The Star that if the past few months had been any indication, the media would continue to prioritise the athlete’s case, and that the elections did not stand a chance against it on social media platforms.
“The elections haven’t even made a dent against Pistorius (on Twitter),” said Khoury.
She said Pistorius’s case remained a huge talking point overseas and that international coverage of it had boosted its “talkability” – both locally and abroad.
The trial was set to return to the North Gauteng High Court on Monday, and the defence was expected to call a series of experts to help corroborate Pistorius’s version of events.
The athlete is accused of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but he claims he shot at her through a closed toilet door thinking she was an intruder.
The trial adjourned two weeks ago for legal teams to take leave and attend to other cases.
Before the adjournment, the defence called one expert to the stand, Roger Dixon, who gave his analysis on the lighting conditions of Pistorius’s home, ballistics and the forensic analysis of Steenkamp’s body.
On the stand, Dixon was unable to explain the methods behind many of his tests, leading prosecutor Gerrie Nel to question his credibility as a forensic analyst.
Meanwhile, Pistorius’s defence counsel, advocate Barry Roux SC, has indicated that he would be calling further ballistics and sound experts to speak on the noises neighbours heard on the night of the shooting on Valentine’s Day last year.
Various neighbours claimed they heard both male and female screams coming from Pistorius’s home that night, but the defence has argued that the screams were actually from the athlete in a state of extreme agitation after realising his accidental shooting.
Pistorius indicated during his testimony that he had been asked to scream during some sort of test that the defence team had conducted.
A psychologist was also expected to be brought to the stand, most likely to explain to the court that Pistorius, as a double amputee, felt extremely vulnerable and that he remained terrified of crime in South Africa.
The athlete told the court he had been a victim of crime on several occasions.