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Media Trials

Trial by Media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person's reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt regardless of any verdict in a court of law.

Trial by media is no where legal. There is no legal system where the media is given the authority to try a case. This slang is used for those high profile cases wherein the journalists present a pre decided picture of an accused and start spreading hatred amongst the general public which can ultimately affect the trial and the judgment. Thus, its called trial by media. Ruchika's case is a recent example of the same.

During high publicity court cases, the media are often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public hysteria akin to a lynch mob which not only makes a fair trial nearly impossible but means that regardless of the result of the trial the accused will not be able to live the rest of their life without intense public scrutiny.The counter-argument is that the mob mentality exists independently of the media which merely voices the opinions which the public already has.There are different reasons why the media attention is particularly intense surrounding a legal case: the first is that the crime itself is in some way sensational, by being horrific or involving children; the second is that it involves a celebrity either as victim or accused.

In India, trial by media has assumed significant proportions. Some famous criminal cases that would have gone unpunished but for the intervention of media are Priyadarshini Mattoo case, Jessica Lal case, Nitish Katara murder case and Bijal Joshi rape case.The media however drew flak in the reporting of murder of Aarushi Talwar, when it preempted the court and reported that her own father Dr. Rajesh Talwar, and possibly her mother Nupur Talwar were involved in her murder, thus reviving memories of JonBenet Ramsey murder, which was hauntingly similar. The CBI later declared that Rajesh was not the killer.Between September 2004 and March 2005, the media - print, audio and visual all wrote about His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, a Hindu religious leader, suggesting his guilt in a murder case, but the High Courts of Madras and Andhra Pradesh and the Supreme Court of India repeatedly found that there was no material evidence to find him guilty and came down heavily on the media and the Government of Tamilnadu for misuse of government machinery.

So saying that media is responsible for ruining a person's prestige involved in some legal conflict. Is is entirely acceptable??

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