Dozens of broadcasting vans are parked outside the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague area. Media from all over the world has flown in to cover one of the most gripping international cases: Charles Taylor’s trial.
The ex Liberian president had the dubious privilege of being the first former head of state to be judged before an international court.
The press officer from the court had no hands to measure (or handle) the amount of press accreditation for today. Every single journalist wanted to be present. Media corporations sent in their big-shots and star reporters to cover the verdict. But just a lucky few actually got to sit in the public chamber and see Mr Taylor from up close and personal..
It’s the same scenario in every international court in The Hague at the beginning and end of every case. Most of the reporters end up elbowing each other in an obvious too small media centre, watching the proceedings from a television screen.
And as the court provides live web-streaming the truth of the matter is that all of us could be in the comfort of our home watching the proceedings on our computer, drinking a far better coffee and surfing through an undoubtedly faster internet connection.
And in a time of cuts in the media sector, sending a correspondent or a freelancer to cover an event that your local producer can follow from the newsroom might in fact not be the most value for money kind of coverage.