Over the past few years, mainstream media has given to itself the right to investigate, adjudicate and pronounce verdict over high-profile cases. In 2020, the Sushant Singh Rajput death took a vile turn as the media crossed all bounds, conducting a parallel trial and a witchhunt of the accused. Yashdeep Lakra analyses this trial by media, questioning, what it does to the dispensation of justice and the rights of the accused?
Media plays a vital role in moulding the opinion of the society and it is capable of changing the whole viewpoint through which people perceive various events. Heinous crimes must be condemned and the media would be justified in calling for the perpetrators to be punished in accordance with the law. However, the media cannot usurp the functions of the judiciary and deviate from objective and unbiased reporting. While a media shackled by government regulations is unhealthy for democracy, the implications of continued unaccountability are even more damaging. Steps need to be taken in order to prevent media trials from eroding the civil rights of citizens, whereby the media have a clearer definition of their rights and duties, and the courts are given the power to punish those who flagrantly disregard them.
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