South Africa’s top satellite television provider will be launching a 24-hour network dedicated to the murder trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius next month.
MultiChoice announced last week that satellite company DStv will launch a “pop-up” channel in tandem with the start of the Olympic athlete’s criminal trial. The channel, scheduled to launch on March 2, will feature analysis and commentary blended with “a rich variety of content and social media integration,” MultiChoice told The Guardian newspaper.
It is unclear if the channel will carry any of the actual trial; the judge presiding over the Pistorius case has not decided if cameras will be allowed in the courtroom or if the proceedings can be broadcast in real time. At Pistorius’s bail hearings in March 2013, photographers were ordered by the court “not to take photographs of anything or anyone” while the judge was in the courtroom, according to Reuters photojournalist Siphiwe Sibeko.
When court is not in session, or if the channel is unable to carry any live programming, the station will broadcast a mixture of documentaries and profiles on the key players in the case as well as on Pistorius himself, Channel 24 reported.
Combined Artistic Productions has been tapped to produce coverage on the Pistorius channel. The production agency was also responsible for MultiChoice’s live coverage of the funeral of Nelson Mandela following his death in December.
Pistorius, the double-amputee sport hero who rose to fame when he participated in the 2012 Olympic games, will stand trial next month for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius claims he accidentally shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.
South African courts do not practice “trials by jury.” After a multi-week trial, a lone judge will determine if Pistorius is guilty or innocent. If found guilty of murder, Pistorius could spend life in jail.