Media's Role In Securing Justice

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:40:59


media, justice, technology

Media is said to be the fourth pillar of democracy after legislature, executive and judiciary. The term "fourth pillar of democracy" was coined by Thomas Carlyle. Media plays a crucial role in the operation of democracy as it holds power and the capacity to manipulate the public at large. For many people, the construction of reality is based either on their direct experiences or symbolic reality. Direct experiences may include the interactions experienced by each individual, and symbolic reality includes beliefs, ideas and perceptions built and developed through indirect experiences. Media plays a major role in conveying information and what is happening worldwide to the general public. People rely on the information presented to them by the media, which eventually helps them formulate the opinion based on which they act further. Media holds great power in shaping opinions. In a way, the event or activity is reported by the media totally change the impact on how we interpret and analyze the event or activity that is reported. Media possesses a disparity between the objectives that are to be traced and objectives to be gained.

The judiciary is the system that administers justice. Judiciary is there to maintain law and order in society. It is a set of institutions that helps enforce laws as per the procedures, and it is an important part of the legal system that helps society be in a discipline. To ensure the smooth functioning of the judiciary, media contributes a major part. In the case of Indian Express newspaper Private limited and others versus Union of India and others, Justice Venkatarmiah said that the freedom of the press is essential for the proper functioning of democracy as it is enshrined in the Indian Constitution that all citizens have freedom of speech and expression as their fundamental right.

Media can either uplift the nation to the greater heights or cause major destruction to democracy and downfall for the nation. In the Indian constitution, the law for media is both solid and dynamic. The greatest support for the media provided under the Indian Constitution is in Article 19 (2).

According to the 200th report of Law Commission of India was surrounding trial by media and had recommended the law to debar media publications which may be prejudicial to the interests of the accused, from the time of arrest till investigation and trial. The commission also suggested changes to the Contempt of Courts Act. Another very famous case related to this is the case of A.K Gopalan v. Noordeen, in which the Supreme Court held that a publication made Post-arrest of a person would be a contemptuous act if the publication is prejudicial to the accused or the suspect.

How media presents the justice delivery system is very important, and social media plays a major player in this league. Media has a vast reach through various forms of print media, social media, and entertainment media. As each pillar of democracy has its own positive and negative aspects, there is scope for some grey area regarding what would constitute a fair media policy. Also, the media has a responsibility to present the truth and not to exaggerate it, but in recent times, the spread of fake news seems to be pointing at a bigger problem.  Media has a powerful influence on people's minds, and at times media also conduct media trials. A media trial is an investigation conducted by the media before or during the trial in a court of law. The very first case of media trial is known to be the case of K.M Nanavati.

Intervention through Media

Pegasus is spyware developed by an Israeli surveillance firm named NSO to hack into phones. The activist and journalists are at potentially high risk from this surveillance. This is not the first time something like this has surfaced. The phone numbers of several writers, lawyers and artists who support the rights of indigenous communities and specific cohorts of individuals were targeted previously.


The various laws in existence today that regulate the media seems to require a good amount of work. Some good regulations must be formulated to be easy for a layman to understand and follow. It is about time that the laws such as sedition that hinder speech and expression rights of journalists and normal people, which are very much relics of a colonial past, are taken down. The laws should not include such rules or regulations that unreasonably obstruct the media.

One of the recent cases includes Stan Swamy, an 84 years old priest, who died this month while in custody. Judiciary and the media have a Nexus of dependency and function best when they are in harmony with each other. Furthermore, for the benefit of the judiciary and the public, the media should put the truth about the events and the process of administration of Justice and its shortcomings.  The judiciary can also use media to disclose information of public interest and engage the public with the functioning of the system.  However, the freedom of the press must not be hampered and must be regulated to bring out the optimum results from the coverage done by the media. Media must rise beyond their TRP greed and focus upon delivering the reality and truth to every person. This will not only provide support to the democracy part. Specifically, it will help the judiciary in strengthening its functioning.

Written by Ekta Pandey