Virtual proceedings: Osinbajo, Oyewole, Olanipekun, others to speak on media role

Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a justice of the Court of Appeal, Enugu division, Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole, former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), fiery Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu will brainstorm on viability of reporting virtual court proceedings in post-COVID-19 era.


Others are former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) and Mr. Richard Akinnola, Publisher, Anti-Corruption Journal.


In webinar which be moderated by former Senior Special Adviser (Media) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati and ably assisted by Mrs. Shola Soyele of Channels Television will take place on September 3, 2020.


However, Vice-President Osinbajo will at the webinar billed for 3rd September, 2020 deliver a keynote address in the online conference entitled “Media Coverage of Virtual Court Proceedings: Prospects and Challenges being organized by Gavel International, an online news platform.


Gavel International Publisher, Mr. Mustapha Ogunsakin, said the conference had become crucial particularly now that COVID- 19 had changed many things across the world, including the court system.


He said: “There is no gainsaying the fact that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected systems, norms, institutions and countries across the world, including our beloved country, Nigeria. The administration of justice system of our country is particularly affected as stakeholders seem not to be prepared for the challenges the pandemic has incurred.


“Since lockdown started in late March 2020, courts across the country are just beginning to commence hearing of cases. The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chief Judges of States are now making Practice Directions to allow courts to sit online via social media platforms such as Zoom and Skype!


“Now, part of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution is public hearing of court proceedings. There was a recent decision of the Supreme Court which ordered a case to start ‘de novo’ because a trial court delivered judgment in the Judge’s Chambers and not in an open court.


Due to this constitutional provision, courts in Nigeria make available Press Galleries for journalists in recognition of the media as representatives of the people during court proceedings.


The media as the representative of the public therefore ensure fair hearing and fair trial in dispute resolution. “With the “new normal” the world is in, the question that readily comes to mind is: “How can the media fulfill its constitutionally provided role in the coverage of virtual trials?”


It is in light of this that Gavel International has put together this webinar to discuss the role of the media in the coverage of virtual court proceedings.”


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