Media trials and the dark side of broadcast media in India

Do we really need to believe what's on TV?


Essay, 2014
14 Pages, Grade: 6.30/7

Excerpt

Content

Introduction

PART I: THE BASIC CONCEPTS
A. FREE SPEECH
B. THE BANDWAGON EFFECT
C. SENSATIONALISM
D. INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
E. FALSE BALANCE
F. MEDIA’S INTERFERENCE IN THE JUDICIARY

PART II: SUMMARIZING THE GOOD AND THE BAD
A. WHY WE REQUIRE A ‘FREE MEDIA’
B. WHY WE REQUIRE THE ‘FREE MEDIA’ TO BE REGULATED

PART III: WHAT DO WE HAVE TO ABOUT THIS?

PART IV: THE ULTIMATE CONCLUSION

DO WE REALLY NEED TO BELIEVE WHAT’S ON TV? - ‘MEDIA TRIAL’ AND THE DARK SIDE OF BROADCAST MEDIA

Abstract

Media Trial[1] has been a burning issue since many decades, but does it really fit well within the legal framework? This book shows different perspectives and touches upon issues of human psychology on how the pliable minds of the innocent public is being moulded against the judiciary by media trials, and how the public is becoming a puppet in the hands of the media driven by commercial interests. Social psychology and the various techniques used by the media have been discussed in the book highlighting the unethical and immoral practices of the media that has gone unregulated for decades now without them being accountable to anyone. This book effectively brings out what the problems are that the judiciary face with media trials being conducted for ongoing proceedings in a court of law, and the way effective policing can be done on the media to sustain it as the fourth pillar of democracy and yet let it not interfere with the proper administration of justice.

DO WE REALLY NEED TO BELIEVE WHAT’S ON TV? - ‘MEDIA TRIAL’ AND THE DARK SIDE OF BROADCAST MEDIA

Introduction

Media Trial, or Trial by Media as some people call it, is a burning issue in the world of human rights and ethics that has been going on ever since the concept of ‘freedom of press’ has arisen. One should note here that, without oppression there would have been no need for human rights, and the world would have no concept of human rights altogether if there was no mistreatment or oppression towards any fellow human being. So, these new issues crop up when there are problems, which give rise to social concepts as time flies. One such big example is ‘net neutrality’[2] which has come up recently as a messiah to the upholding of internet freedom. So, the very concept of ‘freedom of press’ must have come from some problem.

The most logical explanation one can give to this is that ‘freedom of press’ only comes when the press is not being given freedom enough to write, publish and broadcast their views – and that will only come when the government thinks they are publishing something wrong[3]. What the media publish and what actually happens remains shrouded in doubt nowadays. But nevertheless, media is the most powerful tool for mass communication and influence of mass opinion is largely, if not solely, based on print media and electronic media. Free Speech, as in Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India enables freedom of the press for Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had a vision[4], and that vision had to come true. In this context, two very powerful words already exist, and it would not be out of topic to mention them, that is “Power Corrupts”. Power corrupts and it always will.

The freedom of the press was abused eventually in various ways resulting from interference to the administration of justice to even creating difficulties in maintenance of foreign relations. Free speech is a double-edged sword, and it must be used carefully, for the right purpose. Free speech with a bad intention gives rise to a new world of lawful evil, for example misfeasances like ‘smear campaigns’. Before we even go into what the media should do and should not do, it is to be noted that we live in a generation of no boundaries – we are the only generation that can voice our opinion to billions of people with a single click. This power has been utilized for various purposes, like, for example, overthrowing the Egyptian government, and has been used for bad purposes[5].

PART I: THE BASIC CONCEPTS

A. FREE SPEECH

Now, let us first understand the concept of free speech. Free speech, is essentially the right to do ‘fair criticism’, and not just say whatever your mind feels like, for if that were the case, anarchy would have been the norm. What the media does is anything but fair criticism. Freedom of press is absolutely necessary for a healthy democracy to exist, and it is agreed upon, that without criticism, a democracy would turn into a dictatorship in no time. But, this freedom of press, carries the immense power of influence, the power to mould the minds of a billion people, the power to create ideas, and the power to ignite protests. Everyone knows that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, and exactly how much responsible is the media? Absolutely zero. Their accountability to anyone is virtually non-existent[6], and so they literally publish whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like without the foresight of the consequences it might bring to the country. If one does a good research on the topic of ‘Media Trial’ on the Internet, one would see that the media has been described as ‘the voice of the people’. Let us look at it from a different perspective now, a perspective media has no influence on – media is not the voice ‘of’ the people, but it is a ‘creator’ of the voice of the people.

B. THE BANDWAGON EFFECT

Now one may ask how the media can influence the opinion of so many people from so many different diverse backgrounds with different thought processes. This effect is called the ‘Bandwagon Effect’[7]. Now, what happens in the Bandwagon effect is that when an individual sees most other people in his surroundings have a certain belief, he overrides or ignores his own personal belief to conform to the norms of society and ‘get on the Bandwagon’. A result of the Bandwagon effect we see in modern times is that, when most of the people support a particular political party, the other people drop their beliefs to support them. In the Aarushi Talwar murder case [8], whether some people believed it or not, the media portrayal has led people to believe that her father and mother were the ones who had committed the murder – even if some people believed that the father was innocent, the Bandwagon effect forced them to agree with the media. It is pertinent to note that, the media makes full utilization of this social psychology and influences public opinion to a great extent, for this human psychology itself makes media more powerful than their own beliefs. Now, let us see how this relates to the judiciary. Well, probably everyone has the answer to that. We probably see failures of the judiciary reported a thousand times more than the success stories – whereas in reality it is the success stories that are abundant, and failures – so very few. The media has made people perceive the judiciary in a different way than it is functioning and has compelled the people to lose faith in this legal institution. The judiciary in India today, is the least corrupt wing of the government[9] but the media hails it to be otherwise. Playing with the human mind has been a long motive of the media, and they have exercised it to the fullest in the recent years.

[...]


[1] Author’s name: Debadatta Bose Author’s University: Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam

[2] Krämer, Jan; Wiewiorra, Lukas & Weinhardt,Christof (2013): "Net Neutrality: A progress report". Telecommunications Policy 37(9)

[3] See speech by Professor Guy Berger, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University, available at http://www.ru.ac.za/jms/news/whyispressfreedomimportant/ last accessed at 04:06 UTC on 19-07-2014

[4] Concept from “A tryst with destiny”, speech by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/series/greatspeeches last accessed at 04:09 UTC on 19-07-2014

[5] Concept taken from paper by Darling, Juanita. "Liberty Not Licentiousness: The Concept of Abuse of Press Freedom in Early Spanish America", paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, Boston, MA, May 25, 2011 available at http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p490402_index.html last accessed at 04:14 UTC on 19-07-2014

[6] Murthy, D V R, “Question of Public Accountability of the Media: An Analysis of Journalists’ Perceptions”, Andhra University, p. 175, available at http://bibliotecavirtualut.suagm.edu/Glossa2/Journal/dec2007/Question%20of%20Public%20Accountability%20of%20the%20Media.pdf last accessed at 04:21 UTC on 19-07-2014

[7] Goidel, Robert K.; Shields, Todd G. (1994). "The Vanishing Marginals, the Bandwagon, and the Mass Media". The Journal of Politics 56: 802–810. doi:10.2307/2132194

[8] See, The State of Uttar Pradesh (Through CBI) v. Rajesh Talwar and anr., Sessions Trial No. 477 of 2012, Court of the Special Judge, Anti-Corruption, CBI, Ghaziabad District accessible at http://ghaziabad.nic.in/court_new/arushi1.pdf last accessed on 15:02 UTC on 18-07-2014

[9] Transparency International Global Corruption report available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTLAWJUSTINST/Resources/gcr07_complete_final.pdf , last accessed 05:42 UTC on 24-06-2014

Excerpt out of 14 pages

Details

Title
Media trials and the dark side of broadcast media in India
Subtitle
Do we really need to believe what's on TV?
College
Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University  (Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University)
Course
B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)
Grade
6.30/7
Author
Year
2014
Pages
14
Catalog Number
V316997
ISBN (eBook)
9783668166417
ISBN (Book)
9783668166424
File size
414 KB
Language
English
Tags
media trial, media law, bandwagon effect, sensationalism, false balance
Quote paper
Debadatta Bose (Author), 2014, Media trials and the dark side of broadcast media in India, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/316997

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