Indians hold the Media in very high regards, because they trust their news channel, they believe that their news channels are the watchdogs of the system. They believe that they bring out the reality in every matter. But is that really true? Yes, the media has played a major role in the uncovering of a load of scams in the country. Also the media is famous for their ‘sting operations’ to uncover countless cases of fraud, match fixing and others. From Arnab Goswami’s famous ‘the nation wants to know’ to every other anchor on the television, let us see the reality of this matter.
Follow all the principles of natural justice (which include the right to a fair trial)Let us understand what does trial by media really mean. Trial by media means that while the media is ‘presenting the facts’ to people, it makes its own decision and airs it whenever they want, this has faced a lot of backlash from the legal community, that is because the community believes that declaring a person guilty is the job of the court. So let us see if the media is allowed to do so. While adjudicating a matter, a judge must
- Assume that the accused is innocent until proven guilty
The media always neglects these 2 very important rules and is brutal in its wordings and taint the accused as guilty even before the court has decided.
Let us take the example of the Aarushi Talwar murder case, where the media snatched away all the rights of the family and made them look like the villains even before the court gave its decision. Media often overlooks all these important rights just for the sake of viewership. For the sake of TRP one cannot snatch away the basic human rights provided to all the human beings. But how does this affect the human mind? We humans have a tendency of believing what we hear on the news. Without actually thinking about it, ‘it must be in the news, so it must be true’, but that should not be it. The only reason why the media succeeds in this is because there are sets of eyes all over India watching this news. Today, we live in a country where the media creates forged realities, blindside the viewers, because they want the public to see only what they show them, they rupture the image of a person by painting he or she guilty even before the court decides, hence denying them from their right to a fair trial, and assuming them guilty straight away. We live in a country where the rational mind is dying out. We live in a country where the media houses have direct control on the nation’s opinion of someone, and these media houses are exploiting that. A news channel only has the right to present facts unaltered. These continued screenings of their version of facts might even alter the mind of a judge. Even they are humans after all. The way it is presented by the media, it seems so real, so fitting that it may even influence a judge. Even when they say that it does not, it is human to consider that it may influence them.
To take some examples we have the Aarushi Talwar case, where the media was so harsh and brutal in declaring the father and the mother guilty, that it made an impression on everyone’s mind that they were guilty. In a way the media painted the parents as the guilty in nearly everyone’s mind. But there is always a silver lining; here I am referring to the Jessica Lal case, where Sabrina Lal was crediting the media force for “bringing justice” to them while also stating that today’s society requires watchdogs like the media and that the spotlight of media does help a lot of cases like this. But media spotlight is very crucial in cases like this. Within a fortnight a similar case in Delhi had taken place however no coverage was given to this case, therefore it died out before anything could happen about it. This was the other side of it.
Now what is it that news channels are doing wrong and how does it affect the country? By giving out false information it influences the crowd in the wrong direction. It gives out false impressions and downgrades a person’s stature in the eyes of the common man. In the case of the Aarushi Talwar, the damage done to the girl’s parents was irreversible. Those people are no longer capable of leading normal lives now. All of this happened just because the media did not identify its limits. They just declared the family guilty for the TRP’s. Now imagine how many such lives have the media destroyed just for their hunger of TRP’s. Now why would they tell you about this? Why would any news channel show how have they made these people suffer for greed? Even if the court acquits them, how can you ask the entire country to change their perception about a man who has been portrayed as a villain for the entire time by our so valued media? Also they have no one stopping them, if they want and feel that if portraying someone as innocent can get them good numbers of TRP, they would do it without thinking twice. This is how powerful the media of our country is and this is how they misuse their power, by making life hell for people just for TRP.
To conclude, the media has no business declaring someone guilty, there are courts for that. Media houses must realize that there is a very clear line separating presenting facts and declaring someone guilty. The media houses over the country must realize this and redefine their limits. The media houses of the country must present all the facts unaltered. If they start giving out decisions on who is guilty and who isn’t it just defeats the purpose of having media in the country and it would be controlled propaganda instead of keeping their citizens updated. To judge the guilt of a person is not their business and they should refrain from doing this. No news channel has the right to enforce its opinion on to the common man of the country, let alone paint someone guilty in front of the country which is equivalent to defamation. To add to that our country’s legal system is built in a manner that no innocent is adjudged as guilty, but it is contrary to what the media does. In conclusion, while the media of our country presents itself as a watchdog, it really is ruthless and inhumane, and would paint anyone as guilty just for the sake of TRP’s.
Written by- Siddhant Parik
The Daily College
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