Ethics and media

media-trail-generic-pti-3 Media personnel outside the residence of industrialist and Congress MP Naveen Jindal | PTI

Speculative coverage of sensitive issues by the media, be it print or electronic, is a dangerous trend. Speculation per se is not bad. In fact, speculation based on sound merits and judicial analysis of a given case of crime can help in solving the mysteries behind many unsolved crimes. Speculation indulged in by the media on unhealthy lines and for vested political motives can surely affect fair probes.

Wild and unreasonable speculation can be venomous in influencing and affecting any trial process, thereby scuttling the chances of a fair outcome. When any high profile case, especially the ones involving murders, rapes and terrorist activities are sub judice, the coverage by the media has to be strictly based on authentic and verified facts of the said case in question, without indulging in any sensationalism for whatever reason. Paid news should not be resorted to, to gain commercial mileage by the media.

In a civilised society, the principles of natural justice has to be followed strictly. Laws governing and regulating the principles of ethical journalism needs to be framed, put in place and offenders should be dealt with in the most befitting manner. Freedom extended to the media by our Constitution should be utilised effectively to gain a dignified presence. Thus, speculation-based coverage of high-profile murder cases or any other case for that matter has to be avoided in the overall interests of a fair probe. This would be in keeping with untainted, blemishless and responsible journalism. However, the law enforcing agencies and the judiciary on their part should not get carried away and believe whatever is covered by the media. It has to wear its thinking cap before taking decisions.

N.R. Raghuram

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