Guardian

Jul 7, 2014

Trial by media? Channel Seven asks viewers to vote on Pistorius’ guilt

Channel Seven's Sunday Night has controversially asked its viewers to vote on Oscar Pistorius' trial, after showing them footage his lawyers claim was "illegally obtained".

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Channel Seven's Sunday Night has asked viewers to vote on the guilt or innocence of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, currently facing court charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. According to Seven there were 1.1 million votes cast on the question during last night's program. Viewers were evenly split after watching the program, which examined the arguments for and against his guilt. On his blog, TV commentator David Knox slammed slammed the vote:
"Is it acceptable to turn a murder case into a viewer vote because it is in another country and not under Australian jurisdiction? Would we have accepted TV viewers voting on the guilt or innocence of an Australian on trial overseas? Rolf Harris? Or what about Queenslander Tyson Dagley, who faced a negligent homicide charge in Hawaii in 2012 after a skijet crash? "What happened to innocent until proven guilty and allowing justice to take its natural course? Cheap stunts like this, in the race for viewer interactivity, take us closer to a TV colosseum."
But Sunday Night executive producer Mark Llewellyn disagrees, telling Crikey the report could not have been "more matter-of-fact or unbiased". "Our story methodically cross-referenced his statements with evidence publicly presented to the court. Indeed, the first half of the show was dedicated, in elaborate detail, to the case for his innocence." Asked if the use of a viewer poll undermined such fair reporting, he was dismissive. "I assume from your lofty tone that you hold the view that the 'great unwashed' should not be entrusted with an opinion or the ability to express it. By the way the vote, was roughly 50/50, so clearly bias was not  an issue. The story presented both sides fairly."

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6 comments

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6 thoughts on “Trial by media? Channel Seven asks viewers to vote on Pistorius’ guilt

  1. klewso

    Viewsmedia – putting the ass in class?

  2. klewso

    The tit in titillation.

  3. zut alors

    What a fine example of the Seven Network programming mindset – they cancel the quality Australian production ‘A Place To Call Home’ and continue to run populist piffle such as the Pistorius piece.

    If Llewellyn was on trial would he appreciate audience participation in his verdict?

  4. klewso

    1.1 millions votes?
    [Meanwhile our Curry or Maul is bragging about 10 million people saw a post on their “gnus feed(?)”, 4.1 million clicked on a link and (only) 2 million (of those other participants?) liked shared or commented on one of their posts – they didn’t nominate “witch won”?]
    You have to wonder how much of this “polling” is a result of “in-house initiative”?

  5. Paris Lord

    Lovely name for the Brisbane rag, Klewso.

  6. Graham R

    This was simply an excuse for a freak show.

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