Candle marches, Instagram posts, riots, protests, and several other means are adapted to showcase our support for the victim of a crime.
But are we sure who is the victim?
Media trial is a newly evolved term that refers to a scenario where the people declare who the guilty party is, even before the matter is tried in the court of law. Fake news often spreads like wildfire, and curbing it, is next to impossible.
From ancient times, people pass on whatever information they heard, regardless of its genuinity. However, this method of sharing information took place because there was no viable method to confirm those news.
Moreover, the people were only focused on local news rather than national or international ones. This often became the source of rumors. However, this model of information sharing should have become imperiled because today, we have several established news agencies, journalism as a separate course and profession and references to confirm the genuinity of news.
More often than not, newspapers and other news agencies take matters into their own hands by publishing opinions and interviews of who they think the victim is. Hence, only one side of the story reaches the public, forcing them to make uninformed conclusions.
The Constitution of India has granted voting rights to every adult citizen of the Country. However, if the news agencies fixate on promoting their agendas, they pollute and jam the thinking of the individuals. The narratives of the news agencies gradually wash the ability to question and reason. Not only do they keep the masses blindfolded, but they also ruin the future of the Country by tampering with the young minds. People elect leaders based on their views, and tampering with the truth is not only unethical but also an interference with democracy.
Historically, many publications have proven beneficial to society as they made the people more aware and gave them information to make better decisions and form impartial opinions.
For instance, in the British era, a weekly newspaper named “Saubad Kaumudi” was introduced by revolutionary Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Meanwhile, writers like Rabindranath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu influenced the mass to participate in nationalist movements and stay united through their writings and poems. Following the reference, media is supposed to share the truth and keep people united, not promoting selfish narratives to meet their ends.
We have a perfectly efficient legal system and to take matters into our hands is simply heinous. The judges analyse the facts of both sides and then deliver a judgement, but the media only presents that side, which will attract more readers, and we foolishly succumb to their strategy by joining the cult of declaring who the guilty party is.
Jasleen Kaur Harassment Controversy
The most eye-drawing case was the one with Jasleen Kaur. She filed a false lawsuit of eve-teasing against a man named Sarvjeet Singh, and the case dragged on for about four years, ruining the man’s reputation and life. Despite his innocence, he lost his job and everything he ever worked for.
Media Trial was the main reason behind ruining this man’s life, and media pressure made him lose his job. He was the bread-earner of his family, but the media found Jasleen’s side of the story more appealing, so they didn’t care for the truth. It is not their job to explore the truth.
The media is merely supposed to present what is going on and what evidences have been discovered, not to discover it. We have the judiciary for unfurling the truth behind each claim. We, as ordinary people, are not qualified to judge a case or create any media pressure.
Today, we all have unlimited access to media, and we must make sure not to misuse it by being a part of media trials. We should not decide the guilty party without a thorough fact check.
Instead, we ought to remember that every individual has a specific role to play, and we must respect that. It is most salutary to leave the legal matters to those qualified for the same and remember that society needs all its wheels to function smoothly, each of our professions being a wheel.
Acknowledging professional disparities and not indulging in the propagation of any unnecessary narratives extricates society from the negative impacts of media trials.
Media trial or trial by masses, on factual grounds, is the definition of pushing narratives at the cost of innocent lives. Therefore, we must ensure to avoid such trials and maintain confidence in the legal system.
Angelina is a second-year BA.LLB student, who is neither a geek nor a dolt. She reads up to the snuff and writes on socially strained topics. She likes the law and associates it with every situation to establish a firm stance.