As we know media is the fourth pillar of democracy. It plays a massive Role in nation-building and moulding and shaping up the cognitive behaviour of humans. Even it is capable of changing the opinion of the majority so it has always been a powerful tool since its beginning. media can be applauded for starting a trend where it actively brings the accused on the hook. Especially in the last 2 decades with the advent of new media like TV, internet, Social media etc.
The Internet has drastically changed the reach-out process.
The circulation of magazine and newspapers have also been increasing day by day.
There are numerous instances of media trials where the media took the case in his hand and made the truth come out even before the court could hear the case. in most high-profile cases, the verdict passed by it also becomes the final verdict by the courts.
Ironically this practice of media has always been in criticism and controversy. Despite all these still media continue to do this.
There are quite a few examples where accused have been acquitted by the court had it not been for the media’s wrath in shaping the opinions of the people and impacting the judiciary, For example, the Jessica Lal Case, 2010, the Priyadarshini Mattoo Case, 2006, and the Bijal Joshi Case, 2005. Here are a few examples where the media went wrong and made people victims of it trials like
Sanjay Dutta, highlighted the case to some extent and projected him as a terrorist that’s why he had to go through a lot. His reputation and image among people got shattered people started believing him as a terrorist. But later on, he was found not accused of those charges which had media highlighted.
Sunanda murder case: in this case media claimed former union minister Shashi Tharoor murder and had murdered his wife Sunanda when the case was under investigation.
Famous Bollywood Hero Susant Singh Rajput (SSR):
This is one of the most highlighted media trials ever in its history which Bollywood would never forget. There was no evidence but few houses play this case in a certain way that leads to another level.
Why media do so :
- it sets agenda whenever they find cases including celebrity as a victim or as the accused.
In cases where big celebrities have been involved the influence of it could drastically change the opinion of fans overnight.
- in the case where children are involved Or so horrific or gruesome cases consider it necessary to overplay such cases.
Coverage of its can reflect the opinion of an individual Therefore media can act as a bridge between various prevailing opinions. There are thousands of examples where the media ruined the individual persona due to its unjust and incredulity manner.it has been advised that they should only publish facts about any person under trial, and only after thorough full-fledged research along with credible sources.
Though media is the watchdog of society and also give voice to the voiceless but nowadays news companies often dramatised the news for the sake of TRP and Revenue.
The trial by the media is certainly an undue interference in the procedure of delivery of justice. The trial must be carried out by the court, not by it.
The most suitable way to regulate the media will be exercising contempt of court penalise the one who violates the basic code of conduct. The Supreme Court has approved the use of contempt powers by the Courts against the newspapers and media channels. Freedom of speech and expression cannot be allowed to such an extent to anticipate the trial itself.
Written By Susant Pal