Technology takes a back seat
“WE SHALL revert to the old way of doing things.”
With those few words, laptops, iPads, cellphones and all recording devices in courtroom 18 of the Randburg Magistrate’s Court got switched off and placed out of sight. No live tweeting permitted. No updating of Facebook statuses.
“Although it may be preferable to have reporters tweet live, it is the responsibility of this court to guard against having other people avoid bringing such cases to court.
“The court is satisfied that members of the media should not continue with live broadcast at this juncture. We will revert to the old- fashioned way of taking notes,” Magistrate Naren Sewnarain said.
The order was made after Dan Roodt, who is representing Steve Hofmeyr in his case against the comedian and ventriloquist Conrad Koch – Chester Missing’s puppet master – objected to a media application to have proceedings broadcast live.
Roodt said a dangerous precedent would be set, resulting in people being harassed. They would be reluctant to approach the courts to put an end to their ordeal as personal information would be beamed for the whole world to see.
He referred to Koch’s tweet that Hofmeyr suffered from a venereal disease, saying should such disease be confirmed and proven in court, Hofmeyr had to be protected against it being made public.
And so began the “old way” of taking notes, electronic devices tucked away and notepads and pens used to jot down proceedings.
Where a text would have sufficed to communicate a message, bits of paper with messages scribbled exchanged hands.