Introduction of Crime, Media and Culture
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The media has an important role in entertaining as well as an information channel to its viewers. With recent crime trends, it is been perceived that the criminal justice system is not robust in areas of giving proper sentencing and justice to criminal. This paper focuses on the role played by media in depicting the criminal justice systems and analyzing if the media is becoming a criminal justice system due to its involvement in criminal cases, especially for high profile criminal cases. This paper also focuses on the role of media in criminal justice systems and the different biases that media show towards criminal justice systems. Also, to showcase the involvement of media in court trials and how media has halted the trial by an article published by the Sunday Mirror which could have prejudiced the jury.
How media is becoming the criminal justice system
The media have a deep effect on the public perception in understanding the criminal justice systems. Media serves as an eye and ear to the general public in providing information about the crime and how the criminal justice systems deal with those crimes. All criminal justice systems and criminal justice officials have been portrayed in a certain way by different media production houses (Pugach et al., 2018).
The relationship between the crime and perception of mass media is important to verbalize criminal justice systems. The media plays a significant role in framing the different policies related to the criminal justice system with the help of media coverages which further help in setting up agendas and support for disciplinary policies. There have been many kinds of literature that suggest that there is always an exchange in the media crime representation, behaviour of criminal and the policy associated with the criminal justice systems (Surette, 2018). In media, crime stories are presented dramatically and as a result, once the media covers an issue in a projecting position and when it sets its agendas, the media subsequently convince the audiences that the issue highlighted by media is more important and needs more attention. With this said, the media involves in setting up the agendas of the criminal justice systems. The agenda-setting theory is associated with how media plays a role in constructing a story for the world and makes people believe in that construction. By covering one news while ignoring the other news, the mass media outlines only a specific area of politics at the cost of others. Greer and McLaughlin, 2017 suggest that sensational issues are established by making the events dramatized through their media coverage which is difficult to ignore by politics.
Nygaard, 2019 pointed out that the reality of the individual is known by what is being accepted in society in reality. Based upon the theory by Palmer et al., 2020, there can be three arguments that can be drawn. The first arguments are on media who sets the agendas and design certain news in a way that the decision of the criminal justice system and guides the attitude of the public trust toward the criminal justice systems and the government. The second arguments state that the agendas of media shape the perception of the general public about the social issue (Strine, 2020). The third arguments state that the people and government attention would be carried out in setting up agenda for specific economic news and the attitude of the people could be changed after then.
With the help of transforming public opinions and policy, the media shapes the perspective of society on criminal justice systems. Hatter, 2020 observes that the media with the help of its 24X7 news constantly sets a perspective within the audience when it is involved in any case that is related to the criminal justice system from analyzing the outcome of the case in advance or firmly providing the verdict with the help of people’s opinion by organizing debates on the criminal issues before the case verdict which results in accepting the verdict by the court of law and another criminal justice system (Day and Gill, 2020).
There have been psychological studies that have narrated that the media influence a larger part of society with the help of its media coverages and crime which is proved to be more commanding in comparison to the scientific proofs. Various risk assessments analyst has discovered that the stories carried out by media have a drastic impact on the individual beliefs. Various facts are associated with the representation of the criminal justice system by the media (Dolliver et al., 2018). One of the facts is that the media presentation of criminal justice is over-saturated about the crime and the victim and the media often accept the criminal justice system point of view of the crime. The other fact about media is that the depiction of crime relies heavily on the criminal justice systems and the reporter firmly believes the criminal justice systems point of view of the crime which makes the media completely following and acting as one of the criminal justice systems. The crimes are often exaggerated by the media as that to the actual seriousness of the crime (Mayeux, 2018). Also, the crime report exposure increases the concern of the people especially when the news is racist which leads to disciplinary support for the crime and this support help in taking various control measures. This also signifies the importance of media to influence the criminal justice systems and act as one of the pillars for the criminal justice system. However, the media also has a critical point of view on the criminal justice systems by raising concern over different issues of the criminal justice system such as the expectation of the public from the criminal justice system which include fairness and effectiveness of the system (Kampmark, 2021).
Case study on now media has acted as the criminal justice system
Two footballers of England brutally attacked a defenceless Asian student as he lay troubled on the ground. The footballers were the Leeds United Stars Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer who punched and kicked 19-year old Sarfraz Najeib into unconsciousness following a chase (Kampmark, 2021). The Victim was already lying bleeding in the street when the footballer Jonathan Woodgate was seen standing back and he leapt and landed over the teenager body and along with Jonathan Woodgate other five Leeds player including Lee Bowyer took part in the motiveless assault on the teenager. Sarfaraz Najib, who was the victim of the assault suffered serious injuries in his face and body which include broken cheeks, nose and legs. Also, he was badly injured by a human bite mark imposed in the attack which has remained visible for a long time (Baranauskas and Drakulich, 2018). There were trail sessions held for four footballers and two friends of the footballer Jonathan Woodgate before a jury of seven men and five women.
However, the interference of media production “Sunday Mirror” halted the trial as this media production has published the interview of the Footballer Jonathan Woodgate’s father while the court was in process of considering the verdict. One of the justices of the trial session stopped the trial and ordered the second trial for the Leeds players and the co-defendants because there was a fear that the article published in the Sunday Mirror could prejudice the jury (Intravia et al., 2018). The action of the newspaper was heavily criticized and the judges order to pay £175,000 as of the penalty for the article published by the Sunday Mirror. As per the Judges, Lord Justice Kennedy along with other Justice Mrs Rafferty, the timing and the content of the article had been such as to endanger a lengthy, expensive, high-profile and difficult trial. When there was a retrial, the Football player found guilty of disturbance that was caused but he was not found guilty of the injuries caused in the body of 19-year old Safraz Najib and Lee Bowyer was cleared of all the charges (Kappeler and Potter, 2017).
To conclude, the media involvement in the criminal Justice Systems and its influence on cases especially high profile cases make the media one of the Criminal Justice Institution. This study outlines how media perception due to its continuous coverage leads to the perception of the individual and thereby following the belief of the media. this study also examines how media shapes the outlook of society with the help of the people support. This study also highlights different facts which represents the criminal justice system by the media. finally, a case study of two footballers of Leeds United has been presented to showcase the involvement of media in court trials and how media has halted the trial by an article published by the Sunday Mirror which could have prejudiced the jury.
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