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10 Jan, 2022 02:05

Djokovic court hearing plagued by livestream chaos

The live feed of the tennis star’s deportation suffers major technical difficulties as an old broadcast is hijacked with pornographic images
Djokovic court hearing plagued by livestream chaos

The Australian court hearing for Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who is appealing his visa cancelation, was repeatedly derailed with livestream feed issues, leaving many reporters and the public in the dark.

Before the hearing even started, issues with getting the official Australian court broadcast to work led to delays. By the time the hearing began, the issues had not been resolved.

Initially, the court reportedly shared a Microsoft Teams link that was quickly hijacked with “silly noises,” techno music, and even pornographic material, according to some accounts. The chaos forced officials to abandon it, resulting in a lawless and unmoderated broadcast followed by many journalists, who were unaware that the stream had been abandoned.

Sydney Morning Herald reporter Sarah Danckert claimed the court official tasked with moderating the broadcast left “after having trouble” trying to mute all the trolls who were spamming it with inappropriate content.

“We've had techno blasting, giggling, shouting and someone is just saying Nole repeatedly in a pained voice,” she reported.

Though the broadcast was eventually up and running, continuous tech issues – likely due to the massive international interest in the case, which the Australian authorities had seemingly not accounted for – plagued the stream and led to a temporary adjournment. International news outlets had their live coverage repeatedly derailed and readers were left out of the loop as to what was actually happening in court.

Djokovic’s hearing is taking place in the Melbourne Federal Circuit Court on Monday after he had been detained in a ‘quarantine hotel’ for refugees for five days.

The tennis star – who traveled to Melbourne last week to compete at the Australian Open – had his visa canceled and was detained on January 5 for failing to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Despite the fact that he had received an exemption to participate in the tournament as recently recovered, it wasn’t enough for the Australian Border Force, which is abiding by country’s strict vaccine-related entry rules.

Djokovic's lawyers argue that the decision to cancel his visa was unreasonable, while the tennis star was essentially denied procedural fairness and not allowed to contact his lawyers or Tennis Australia officials to help him clarify the situation.

The government lawyers argue for his deportation, claiming that Djokovic obtained his exemption and visa under the outdated guidelines, and warning that “an order for immediate release does not prevent re-detention,” even if he wins the appeal.

Djokovic’s treatment sparked anger internationally – including from the Serbian government – and Djokovic’s family said Australia’s treatment of the tennis player was akin to “trampling on the Serbian people.”