The trial by media culture

An editorial on The Hoot, So will anything change?, is a scathing criticism the current tendency for “trial by media”, witnessed most recently in the frenzy surrounding the murder of a teenager (Arushi) in Noida. Excerpt:

Memories are short. Every time there is a paparazi-like frenzy of satellite news television crews it seems like this is the first time things have reached such a shameful climax, where people are being hounded, reputations ruined and all professional restraint flung to the winds. But it is not the first time, and it will not be the last time either.

Before the Arushi murder case there was the case of the murdered teenager Scarlett in Goa which saw the media feasting on lurid speculation. And before that there was the case of the Delhi school teacher accused of inducting girls into prostitution in a dubious sting operation by India Live. It was a cooked up story, the schoolgirl was actually an amibitious reporter aspirant, pretending to be one. But everybody picked up from the original story, the woman lost her job and was set upon by angry citizens, her reputation in tatters.

But yes, this particular double murder story has seen trial and conviction by the media in an extended, unrestrained and unrelenting free for all.

The article raises important questions about the media’s role in such cases and talks about the need for a complaints tribunal for television media. Read the full article, it’s well-written and thought-provoking.


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