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Trial by Media, Is it fair?

India enjoys the largest democracy so does its media, which is infamous today for its role of a watchdog. Remembering 2006 baby prince in 60 feet deep trench or 2015 international yoga day, how all news stations switched to cover and telecast the same issue without a pass of breath as if media had a news deadlock. The media is actually a mix of some positive and negative aspects. Its media whether print or electronic that strings people who are geographically divided. Media incumbents fourth major pillar of the world's largest democracy hence, its freedom is the freedom of people as the mass population need to be well informed of the public matters .It would be no harm to say that media is 21st century's indispensible expanding resource who is continually watching the functioning of all the tiers of this largest democratic system and provides a platform to get grievances of people noticed by the society and legislatures indiscriminately. It's therefore the effective tool today as it not only brings accountability and transparency in the system but also educates and guides the citizens in many respects. Though it invited scorn from various agencies for some of its thoughtless coverage but one must not forget the constructive role it played in exposing the 2g scam, the burning Vayapam scam, Lalit Modi fled and countless such opprobrious acts of corruption to the public. It was media who brought Aruna Shuanbaugh into light who died after being in vegetative state for nearly four decades. Media facilitates awareness but is often found responsible for moulding and distorting the public opinion about the things which are under trial or in process or state of scrutiny. Though if properly channelized media can be used in enumerate ways to promote social harmony, combat terrorism, expose snaked scams, eradicate corruption, create awareness among masses and to achieve that Mr. Nehru envisaged a vision of free press. To experience freedom of media nations founding fathers realized its importance and hence included it in the constitution in the form of freedom of speech and expression as articulated in the constitution in Article 19(1) a .Thus Media was accorded with many freedoms and immunities so that this fourth pillar of democracy stands tall and strong. However the freedom of speech and expression is not absolute but is limited by scenarios given in sub clause (2) of the same article. The article says that nothing in the freedom of speech and expression shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law or public order, decency or morality in relation to contempt of court. But many a times media foretells the verdict before court passes its judgment thus engaging it in committing contempt of court, defaming the suspect by showcasing him a culprit. Today media is questioned for its transmigration into a 'public court' (Janta Adalat) and its interference into court proceedings. Here, I believe media identifies its responsibility and works cumulatively with court to bring truth to the world leaving no void for injustice. This is for what actually media is, it can serve as a great force in building the nation. Interference of media is justified as the largest democratic system working through its numerous departments is not less prone to corruption and wrongdoings taking advantage of that, culprits may come clean. Scribes conduct investigation into the crime and publish the accomplished results even before the court takes cognizance of the case only to aware the citizens of the goriest crimes and other happenings. Media trial and media investigation brings public closer to the democracy and helps to build an opinion towards the accused. By this way, the accused is being judged indiscriminately. Though there is a fact to be accepted that sometimes not properly directed investigation, in some cases, results in encroachment of civil rights of accused leaving all his liberty unaddressed and presence defamed, maligned. Media understands the visible demarcation of duties and tasks that are meant to be performed by the legislative, judiciary, executive and media itself. Concluding on positive note that media trails can't be declared unjustified totally, it's there to look for facts and information that empowers citizens and strengthens democracy at the time when justice seems out of reach to a common citizen.

Ruqeya Afshan