Indian media given access to gang rape trial

Friday 22 March 2013 16.30
One journalist from the national Indian daily newspapers and one from local wire services will be allowed into the courtroom
One journalist from the national Indian daily newspapers and one from local wire services will be allowed into the courtroom

A court in New Delhi has ruled that Indian media will be allowed to cover the trial of four men accused of the gang rape and murder of a woman in December.

Journalists had been barred by a court order from entering the courtroom or reporting details of the trial.

The Delhi High Court lifted the gag order allowing local media to cover one of the most high-profile trials in the country.

The ruling said one representative from the national Indian daily newspapers and one from local wire services would be allowed into the courtroom.

They will be expected to brief reporters outside the court, according to the Press Trust of India.

The journalists will still be barred from naming the victim, her family and witnesses called in the case, the ruling said, according to PTI.

The decision to open the trial to reporters was likely to lead to a new wave of media coverage of the crime, which sparked protests across India demanding stronger protection for women.

Police say the 23-year-old student and a male friend were attacked when they boarded a private bus they thought was taking them home on 16 December last year.

Six males beat the man and raped the woman, inflicting severe internal injuries with a metal bar, police said.

The victims were dumped on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

In the wake of the attack, a special fast-track court was set up in New Delhi to deal with sexual violence cases, beginning with the gang rape trial.

Five men were originally on trial, but one was found dead in his jail cell earlier this month.

A sixth suspect is being tried as a juvenile.