SOCIAL MEDIA TRIAL
SOCIAL MEDIA TRIAL
By- Sneha Khandelwal
“I would rather have a completely free press with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom than a suppressed or regulated press.”
-Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Media is regarded as one of the pillars of democracy. It has wide ranging roles in the society and plays a vital role in molding the opinion of the society and capable of changing the whole viewpoint through which people perceive various events. Mass media is a double edged weapon. On one side it plays an important role in strengthening democracy while on other it could be misused by those with vested interest. The media can be proposed for starting a trend where the media plays an active role in bringing the accused to hook.
A recently happened phenomenon in which Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was in the news for wrong reasons following the publication of a report that he and his family enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise in February this year. Gadkari sought to play down the news by declaring that the trip was just out of curiosity and had no business angle.
Freedom of media is the freedom of people as they should be informed of public matters. Article 19 of the constitution provides right to freedom of speech and expression but the freedom is not absolute as it is bounded by the sub clause (2) of the same article. This right does not embrace the freedom to commit contempt of court.
There are several cases that are proof to the pressure that false reporting and social media campaigns just not divet the general public but also the judiciary. The first example to come to mind is the Aarushi Talwar case in which the parents of the deceased were portrayed by the media in all shades of grey even before a verdict was reached. Another example is that of Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal’s case in which the people were made to believe through aggressive reporting that the holy man was in fact a murderer much before the courts had concluded their proceedings. But also there are several cases, several instances in which pressure from various forms of media has lead to a positive outcome. Jessica Lall’s murder case is one such example. If the media would not have been constantly intervening the perpetrators of the crime would have gone scot free. Similarly, in the case of Priyadarshini Mattoo, the murderer, a highly influential man’s son, was finally put behind bars after years of persistent pressure from the media and the masses.
Media has now reincarnated itself into a ‘public court’ (Janta Adalat) and has started interfering into court proceedings. It completely overlooks the vital gap between an accused and a convict keeping at stake the golden principles of ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty’ and ‘guilt beyond reasonable doubt’. Now, what we observe is media trial where the media itself does a separate investigation, builds a public opinion against the accused even before the court takes cognizance of the case. By this way, it prejudices the public and sometimes even judges and as a result the accused, that should be assumed innocent, is presumed as a criminal leaving all his rights and liberty unrepressed.
One such recent case happened is “Bois Locker Room” in which the girl herself made the fake id with the name of “Siddharth” to talk vulgar about herself, she tempted to talk about molestation of herself but before this truth came out, social media viral the screenshots and the boys in that chat were caught and social media criticized them too much. Everyone’s story contained this news with words damaging the reputation of related boys, but when the truth was unveiled, social media went into shock.
Also, recently, a girl shared a story and accused a boy “Manav” for molesting her years back. Social media again viral this too much without knowing the truth or proof that Manav committed suicide.
Can we say if viraling in media provides justice then doesn’t it took one life ? or maybe more of lives and emotional peace we are unaware of.
Though media act as a watchdog and act as a platform to bring people voice to the notice of society and legislatures. But now days media is so much sensationalized and they just do for their salaries and TRP’s. there are few reporters those showing only those news for what they have been paid by political parties. From the above account it becomes clear that the media had a more negative influence rather than a positive effect (except for a few exceptions here and there). The media has to be properly regulated by the courts. The media cannot be granted a free hand in the court proceedings as they are not some sporting event.
The most suitable way to regulate the media will be to exercise the contempt jurisdiction of the court to punish those who violate the basic code of conduct. The use of contempt powers against the media channels and newspapers by courts have been approved by the Supreme Court in a number of cases as has been pointed out earlier. The media cannot be allowed freedom of speech and expression to an extent as to prejudice the trial itself. Certain cases are so hyped for a day or two, so much so that you switch to any channel, they all will be flashing the same story but then when the heat is over there is no following of the case. The news then bumps in space with other stories that are carrying the heat then. Media just sensationalized the case for few days and leave it as they find other “masala” news irrecpective of how much importance earlier news was.
Trial is very much effected by the Media sensation. Judges while making decision start considering Media criticism if they goes opposite from the view of the Media that’s why in mostly high profile cases verdict passes by media becomes the final verdict in trial courts.
14 thoughts on “SOCIAL MEDIA TRIAL”
Well firstly talking about the freedom of media..yes media has lots of freedom but it misuses very badly.I strongly argue that media should be focussing on giving the correct and accurate news.
Media should give the right message and should not spread negativity amongst the people which will lead to riots in our country.Media shoul think and work for good.
i would like to point out a confusion the writer had while citing the example of the bois locker room case, the bois locker room case is completely different from in the case in which the siddharth ID was involved, that incident of the girl making a fake id and trying to molest herself happened on snapchat, and is completely different from the boi locker case which happened on instagram, in which those boys really shared pictures of girls and made obscene comments. Though the point remains the same, the social media mislead the people combining these two cases, just making it the case more intense without it being that way.
What a interesting subject to read , well written too.
Very knowledgeable article
Freedom of press is one of the most important aspects of Democratic India. Freedom of press basically means giving freedom of speech and expression to the media. We all know how important media is, even during this time when we all are working from home, they roam on roads collecting data for us. We are well versed as to what is going around the world because of media only. This article provides us with all the important information regarding freedom of press at one particular place.
A good and informative article.
Well talking about the freedom of media it is important but it should be used wisely as now a days media is influencing youth and working professionals, sometimes it endup being biased. Media should represent both the aspects without being biased to anyone also everyone using social media should try to get in depth details of the matter before offending something.
Very well written. The point of Janta Adalat is quite valid. But I’d like to remind you that the Snapchat conversation screenshot which got supposedly mixed up with the Bois Locker Room chat is actually a different matter. This has been cleared by the state police as well and also by Swati Maliwal.
Lately we have accepted social media trial as part of our lives but as a society we should all strongly condemn such incidents. A lot of innocents will keep on losing their lives if we continue to do the same where without knowing the real facts we declare the accused guilty. Articles like these are really important now a days so that lives of innocents like ‘Manav’ could be saved.
Everyone should be given a chance to be heard . People should not just rush onto the final judgement. We see now , it was a fake screenshot of the chat , it was the girl only just checking on her boyfriend which resulted in ruining the boy’s life. Social media is no one to decide who is right or wrong.
well after reading this article media has both pros and con .various place it acts as a plaudit on other hand it ruined someone of the innocents live.so media must be scrutinising all its activity before acting on it .
Freedom of speech is one of the most important fundamental right. People intentionally or unintentionally misuse it. Certain cases sited in this article are example of situations when people outbreak on internet led to destruction of person’s life. People should stop reacting by hearing only one side of the story. People should express what they have been through and what they are suffering but people should not become judge of other people’s lives.
This article is very important as it point out the current situation of the country. And youngsters should take proper precautions and should get enough information before forming an opinion.
While freedom of press is important..it must be kept in mind that the media’s job is to present FACTS, and the rest decided by the public. However that doesn’t happen anymore…media houses are bought by people in power and often present a twisted reality according to their own whims and fancies. But again, like it was mentioned there are cases like Jessica’s where the media did a great job. The point being, media shouldn’t take over the role of courts.
Most of the news, media, articles we see today are mostly fake and sometimes we even don’t know that the information is right or not? Simply put media now does not brought out truth but it has started to create news by itself resulting in an unrest and sort of distrust into the minds of the viewers.Media is not doing anything for the people good but it is just doing job of brainwashing people’s mind and it is there in its every time not only on television but also on internet. Making someone viral is a simple task and this is an alarming thing. I think this is the time to put an end to the nuisance these people have created they need to be made responsible for doing this because it is simply not acceptable in society. It disrupts our lives, livelihood and sometimes even our own life .
Very good article.