Oscar and the photo of the witness

first_img“We would never consciously undermine our own efforts over the past ten years.” From the eNCA apology (Image: eNCA) • Pistorius trial: open justice or trial by media? • A media guide to the Oscar Pistorius trial •The media and open justice • South Africa’s justice system • Laureus honour for Blade RunnerSulaiman PhilipWinning the right to broadcast the Oscar Pistorius trial came with clearly defined restrictions, one of which prevented the media from showing the faces or publishing photographs of witnesses who had not consented to being filmed.Judge Dunstan Mlambo’s ruling was hailed as a balancing act between press freedom and individuals’ rights by some, and as censorship by others.On the second day of the trial that ruling was put to the test. Patrick Conroy, head of news at eNCA, had checked with the court clerk for permission to use a photo of witness Michelle Burger that had appeared in two Afrikaans newspapers. The argument Conroy and eNCA put forward was that showing a picture of Burger with the caption – “On the stand: Michelle Burger, Pistorius’s neighbour” – to accompany the audio feed as she testified was not a violation of the judge’s order.But a fuming Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, reminded Conroy that the state interpreted the ruling to mean that any image of a witness, no matter the source, would breach the spirit and intent of the earlier ruling. Nel told the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper that eNCA originally wanted to use a photograph of Burger taken outside the court. “The court said no. They still went ahead and did it using a photo they found somewhere else.”Attorney Pamela Stein does not read the ruling as narrowly. A media specialist and partner at the firm Webber Wentzel, as well as a co-author of the newly released Practical Guide to Media Law Handbook, says: “If I were advising eNCA I would have told them to go ahead and publish the photo. The picture was not taken while the witness was on the stand. The court’s control extends only as far as the door of the court.”Confusion around the interpretation of Judge Mlambo’s ruling comes from the wording used – no images of witnesses if they did not provide permission. The newspapers, Beeld and Die Burger, and eNCA argued that his ruling forbade images taken inside the court while testimony was being given. This is a longstanding concession between the media and the justice system.Conroy argued that the legal advice the news group got was in line with this understanding, before conceding in an apology on the channel’s website: “But, on reflection, this was a bad judgement call on our part and we accept that it did not accord with the spirit of the court order.”Trial judge Thokozile Masipa strengthened the ruling by saying any image of a witness who did not want their face shown, was now off limits. She went on to warn the media: “If you do not behave, you will not be treated with soft gloves.”In an editorial, South Africa’s The Times newspaper said: “At the heart of yesterday’s controversy was the weakness of the Mlambo judgment. The judge shied away from either opening the courtroom to broadcasters or keeping them out altogether. By choosing a middle route, he has opened the way for confusion and, as occurred yesterday, unwise rulings that threaten media freedoms and extend the procedural authority of judges beyond courtrooms and on to the streets.”This is not the first time that photographs have caused an uproar in the matter. A year ago, crime scene photos from Pistorius’s Silver Lakes home were leaked. At the time, the original investigating officer told the English newspaper Sunday People that he knew of police officers who were being offered large sums of money for photographs taking in the house.Even Blade Nzimande, the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, waded into the controversy. He wrote in Umsebenzi, the SACP magazine: “Even worse, the sentiment coming across is that it is Pistorius’s rights that have been violated and not those of the Steenkamp family and of Reeva, whose blood is literally splashed in that footage! Sanef [South African National Editors’ Forum] is dead silent on these matters. And it is also the rights of a man that are elevated above those of a woman. In fact, this patriarchal and elitist message has come to characterise the voluminous media coverage of this matter, especially by eNCA on 4 June 2013 and before that!”The intent of eNCA at the beginning of the trial, in the words of journalist Karen Maughan, was to give clear-headed insights into the workings of the South African judiciary. The channel’s top legal reporter wrote: “coverage so far has been tainted by inaccuracy and sensation. The good and the bad of our justice system in South Africa will be on display. We will cover this trial honestly, calmly and fairly.”With 80 accredited journalist filling the courtroom and the overflow area, and another 200 filling a room outside the court, all looking for exclusive content, it was inevitable that the line of what was permissible was going to be tested.As blogger Akanyang Africa wrote in his blog: “Of course I know that this [Judge Mlambo’s restrictions] would have been seen by many as being the worst censorship in as far as press freedom is concerned. But rights have limitations too and by putting this condition in place, Judge Mlambo would have exercised and limited that right correctly.”The law is fluid, a living thing, especially in a democracy as young as South Africa. There will be a continuous give and take as the citizenry and the government and its institutions find a comfortable space to co-exist. The scrutiny given to this trial is proving to be the perfect vehicle for the media and the justice system to redefine the margins of what is, and what is not permissible.last_img read more

VMware Takes On Amazon—Again—With New Hybrid Cloud Service

first_imgServerless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Tags:#VMware#VMworld center_img VMware just upped the ante against Amazon’s dominant cloud business by announcing the general availability of its vCloud Hybrid Service, part of its big push towards completely automated and virtualized data centers—i.e., ones that require far less oversight and which provide computing services that are largely independent of the underlying hardware and software.The new service is a full-fledged “infrastructure as a service” public cloud that will take on the likes of Amazon Web Services, IBM SmartCloud, Rackspace and HP Cloud. IT managers might raise their eyebrows at yet another public-cloud offering, but this one has some serious potential, given VMware’s strong place in the virtualization sector. (What’s virtualization again? See here.)But will it be enough to save VMware, let alone fend off the likes of Amazon Web Services and OpenStack?VMWare Wants To Virtualize You Into The CloudSee also: AWS Vs. VMware vs. OpenStack: And The Cloud Winner Is…Here’s what vCloud Hybrid Service has going for it: VMware currently holds a 60% market share in the server virtualization marketplace, which is nothing to sneeze at. VMware is essentially counting on its base in virtualization to bootstrap its existing customers into the new cloud service.The cloud, after all, is basically still a collection of virtualized servers, albeit with management software with different features. Migrating to the cloud is not as simple as flipping a switch, because of the differences in management software. That’s the big benefit VMware claims for the hybrid service—any VMware customer can supposedly expand into the public cloud seamlessly when they need to.See also: VMware: “If Amazon Wins, We All Lose”This is all part of VMware’s software defined data center strategy, which aims to give IT departments flexibility to configure their data centers and clouds. This is not just virtual servers coming and going as needed in an elastic cloud. Software-defined virtual networking is also part of this broader strategy.With VMware’s hybrid cloud service, software-defined means if you want to run your applications behind a firewall on a private cloud, you’re more than welcome to do so—but feel free to expand into the public cloud with little fuss whenever you need. That’s what makes this setup a “hybrid.” The Software Defined Data CenterSee also: Software-Defined Networking (SDN): What It Is, How It Works, Why It MattersVMware is not just stopping at networking when they talk about virtualization. It also wants to expand virtualization to storage and IT management tools as well.With this reliance on a software-defined infrastructure, VMware will need to expose much of its controls beyond the usual cadre of IT administrators: software-defined anything means that developers will have to get more involved. This means a much-more DevOps-centric focus for VMware. Little surprise, then, in VMware’s $30 million investment in popular DevOps vendor Puppet Labs back in January and the presence of a lot of DevOps companies on the VMworld conference going on this week in San Francisco.Dark Skies On The HorizonSee also Puppet Labs Takes $30 Million VMware Investment – Some Strings Attached?As attractive as VMware’s hybrid service might be to its existing customers, it’s not going to be a cakewalk. First, there’s the problem of all the other hypervisors.In recent years, VMware’s customers have grown restless being constrained to the VMware way of doing things. For one, when customers want to run their software with a virtualized environment, they can fire up the requisite virtual servers and run applications on the guest software. But to take real advantage of virtual machine control, developers have to get their software talking to the underlying hypervisor level.The hypervisor is the layer that actually hold the containers of virtual machines. In the VMware ecosystem, that means VMware ESX and ESXi, and applications should be configured to talk to ESX or any software that manages the hypervisor.But IT shops that run Linux may also want to use KVM or Xen as their hypervisors and Microsoft users will be attracted to Microsoft’s own Hyper-V. In fact, depending on how an application was developed and the costs involved, workloads in a datacenter could be running on multiple hypervisors.See also IDC: Virtualization’s March To Cloud Threatens VMwareThat poses a problem for VMware: they’re counting on their existing customers having a homogeneous hypervisor environments.Another hurdle: It’s not just legacy apps from existing virtual systems that are getting pushed out to the cloud—new apps are being coded for the cloud all of the time. VMware also needs to attract developers to build those new apps on their platform. But remember those DevOps coders? They tend to be much more interested in open source toolsets that are fast and less encumbered with licensing overhead. (And their managers have little love for spending more for VMware licenses, unless there’s a darn good reason.)Still, existing VMware customers are a force to be reckoned with, and even if some are restless, they may be committed to VMware tools for one reason or another. If VMware can hold on to them, then the vCloud Hybrid Service will be a strong force of its own in the public cloud sector.Image courtesy of Shutterstock brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more