WJP presents at the National Press Club ‘Newsmaker’ news conference in Washington DC

nooshin at national press club

Our Project Coordinator, Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi recently had the privilege of presenting the Wits Justice Project and the work that we do at a Newsmaker news conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

The National Press Club is a club for journalists and communications professionals which is dedicated to supporting the ongoing improvement of journalism. Each year, more than 250,000 visitors are hosted at over 2,000 events, the frequent Newsmaker event being one such event on the National Press Club’s busy calendar.

At the May 21 event, Nooshin spoke on challenges faced by the South African criminal justice system, with a particular focus on the thousands upon thousands of (potentially innocent) awaiting trial detainees currently incarcerated in South Africa. She explained that as a unit, the WJP “looks to find stories of people who do not get the kind of press that Oscar Pistorius gets.”

One such story was that of Ronnie Fakude, an awaiting-trial paraplegic who was denied bail for over two years. WJP coverage of his case by senior journalist Carolyn Raphaely demonstrated how with the hard work of a determined journalist and attention from concerned citizens, Fakude was allocated a wheelchair, a fund was set up for his medical bills and he was eventually released on bail only to become the first electronically monitored awaiting trial detainee in the country. Electronic monitoring has in the past only been rolled out to parolees in South Africa.

Nooshin highlighted the important role journalists can play in advocating for those who perhaps do not have as much money as Pistorius and who, as a result, simply fall through the cracks in the system. She referenced high profile WJP cases to demonstrate her point and to show the disparities in the South African criminal justice system.

To read the press release announcing the event, click here

For an article that appeared on the National Press Club’s blog, click here

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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