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Magistrate’s Court Grants Permission For The Rest Of Biti’s Trial To Be Live streamed

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The magistrate presiding over Tendai Biti’s trial, Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, has given permission for the rest of the trial’s proceedings to be live streamed. This follows an application made by Biti’s lawyer Beatrice Mutetwa that her client wanted the proceedings to be live streamed.

The trial is expected to run for the rest of this week starting tomorrow. It is to be conducted  in Court 17 at Rotten Row Magistrates Court, Harare. Not just everyone can live stream the proceedings however. Only properly accredited media houses are permitted and even they have been instructed to do the live streaming in a manner and way that does not interfere with the court’s proceedings.

A rise in appetite for live streaming in general

Traditionally cameras are not allowed in courts for fear of causing disruptions even in a lot of developed countries. In the UK and United States sketch artists are often used to create official portraits to be used for the trial. These are hand drawn and sometimes the results are grotesque.

The Zimbabwean Constitutional Court, however cleared the way, during the case of Chamisa v Mnangagwa & 24 Others (CCZ 42/18), when they allowed live broadcasting of the proceeding. Here for some strange reason only ZBC was given the monopoly over the stream. It was however an important progressive step.

The case was a national event that drew national wide interest. A lot of us followed the proceedings using live streams as we were at work far away from our televisions. Ever since this, and perhaps even earlier, there has been a marked rise live streams especially of national events. The recently concluded Commission of Inquiry incorporated to deal with the August 1 killings comes to mind.

Although data is expensive here a lot of views are driven by the Zimbabwean diaspora who have a healthy interest of things back home. Also a lot of people have lost faith in the partisan media which is often accused of taking breaks, and suffering technical difficulties when opposition figures are live on air or about to say something deemed as offensive by the ruling party.

When Biti’s court resumes you can watch the live stream on our sister site Pindula News.

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