Media are the means of communication used to store and supply information or data. This word includes the media, media, the news media, photography, film, broadcasting, virtual media and advertising, etc. In the past decade, in a number of cases including corruption, rape, killings, sexual harassment, terrorist activities etc, we've seen the media impact growing throughout the process of access to justice. Media activism exerts indirect pressure on the arbitrary authorities to bring justice to victims who might interfere with the process and harm the accused and cause him/her an opportunity to prove his or her innocence.
Out of the total population of India more than half of the population of the country rely on media to disseminate information about what actually is going on the country. Media is a powerful tool to influence the minds of the people as they have trust in it. Trial by the media is an equivalent of the statement that whoever controls the media, controls the mind that has been used popularly in recent decades for describing what impact TV and print media coverage has had, even before its trial and irrespective of any verdict by the Court of law, on the case of media attempting to hold the accused guilty. Say whenever a case related to murder in being presented by a court, different media platforms start to share their own conclusions on it. The suspected person should not be held guilty until being convicted for the same but since the media has a lot of influence on the minds of the people, they tend to drive conclusions on their own and make the suspected person already guilty in the minds of the people watching it. For e.g. in trial of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, actress Rhea Chakraborty was said to be the murderer even though she was not convicted for the same.
The media smear and tarnish the image of simple suspects and designate them as criminals even in front of the judges in order to attract more views. The media may be extremely harmful, as media are mostly regarded for by promoting one-sided viewpoints and by choosing the easy way of merely fueling public rationale without trying to uncover the facts.
Under the right of freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the constitution of India , the media claims the right to investigate, to uncover, to reveal and to bring to spotlight the criminal cases and as per this in a democracy the people have the right to know. The media therefore have an equal obligation to tell the public about the offense and the wrongdoing. Therefore, it requires the right to advertise before the trial. However, the court, on the other hand, have the duty to strike a balance between fundamental rights and proper procedure of the accused in fair trials.
It is the same job both for the judiciary and the media to uncover the truth, preserve democratic principles and address social, political and economic challenges. The media have, in fact, been dubbed the servant of justice, the guardian of society; the judiciary, the distributor of justice, and the driver of social transformation. Therefore, for the growth of civil society both are crucial. But, at times, both of these democratic foundations are in the stranglehold.
The press has now become a "public court," also known as Janta Adalat, and has begun to interfere so much in the courts that it makes its own judgement even before the court. It totally misses the critical gap that exceeds the reasonable doubt between an accused and a prisoner sticking to the golden standards of conviction. What we actually see now is the media trial in which the media itself investigates, creates a public opinion against the accused before even the court sees the evidence. This prejudges the public and might lead to the accused being thought to be a crime, who should be considered innocent, leaving all his rights and freedom unsettled.
Excessive media coverage of a case and the suspect involved in the case prejudices a fair trial or leads to the accused being characterized as a person who actually committed the crime, it amounts to undue interference with the administration of justice, necessitating contempt of court proceedings against the media.
To some extent, it may be accepted that the media, by publishing specific information, works as a stimulant for the fast development of the trial, as best shown in the Jessica Lall case, and that media activism of this type is appropriate. However, after the trial has begun, the media has no power to declare the innocence or guilt of the defendants based on its own perceptions. The courts, not the media, are responsible for determining a person's guilt or innocence under our constitutional structure. Furthermore, hastily declaring someone guilty might inflict lasting harm to their reputation for a lifetime.
The above blog makes it clear that media in any form have a negative impact on the legal proceedings of the court than a positive one. In just a few cases, media trials have only helped people, but it does not happen in all cases, therefore it must be restricted. Media, as many call the general public's eyes and ears.
It is our society's backbone. The dependence on it by the general public and trust entrusted to common people / public mindlessly accepts the veracity of the media's news are required to be taken into account in a responsible Media.