UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | Fair Trial Goes Beyond Courts, To The Police and Media | 10th August, 2022

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What the article is about:
  • Article talks about media ethics, and police and media needs to preserve the basic principles of the justice system 
 
Relevance:
  • Paper1: Essay
  • GS2: Judiciary, Fundamental Rights
  • GS4: Ethics and Human Interface, media ethics 
 
Analysis:
  • Recently Chief Justice of justice of India objected to the lack of media accountability in the media’s coverage of legal issues.
 
effects of lost media ethics:
  • Sensationalisation of criminal cases in early trial stage results in a public stripping of the rights that typically accompany a fair trial.
  • Reportage of this nature violates the presumption of innocence and the right to dignity and privacy of suspects.
  • Sometimes the accused, victims, witnesses and persons closely related to them often face the social ostracisation, and difficulty in retaining employment.
 
How police ethics are as important as media ethics in ensuring fair trial:
  • In Bhima Koregaon Violence(2018) police exposed letters purportedly written by the activists that were still undergoing forensic analysis, extensive media coverage was received by these letters, none of them was presented as evidence in the court.
  • In Romila Thapar vs union of India(2018) 10 SCC 753 personal details of accused were revealed before trial was complete.
 
Issues with regulation of Media and Police:
  • “Police” is an entry in the state list,hence falls under jurisdiction of state.
  • Most police department do not have dedicated media cells, therefore blurring the boundaries between an official and informal police account of events.
 
  • Current Media regulation is limited and,government regulation is not uniform for print and television media.
  • Self regulation set up such as National Broadcasting Standards Authority and Indian Broadcasting Foundation are membership based and easily avoided by simply withdrawing from the group.
 
Need of the hour:
  • A structured and well designed media policy with training and enforcement mechanism is the need of the hour for the police.
 
 



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