Perceptions of Crime and the Victim in the Media.
Perceptions of Crime and the Victim in the Media
Media plays a very important role in broadcasting public issues. Media has hegemonic power and monopolistic power of controlling the member of public and directing them to discuss on certain burning issues concerning them directly or indirectly. The media is the main source of information to the civic, and most of the society member considers it as a source of knowledge. To increase their popularity and maintain their trust to the members of the society, media has ensured the information they release to the public is very attractive and convincing. When media is covering crime cases, it is expected to cover information in such a way that can settle the unrest to the victim and civil society (Schlesinger & Tumber, 1994). However these are not always the case media focuses more on profit generation, so tend to indulge on public perception disrespecting the harm suffered by the victim.
Media had tarnished the names of John and Ramsey for many years by accusing them that they were responsible for the murder of their daughter, JonBenet. All the investigation focused on the john’s family because they were the primary suspect. In spite of the loss of their child, media kept ruining the family by spreading rumors they are the most probable suspect of the claim. Media defied the Ramsey claim as the innocence of the crime and pronounced their stand publicly. This news made a member of the public suspicious to Ramsey for many years (Conrad, 1999). He was held reliable for the crime she never committed by the public even though the court proved her not guilty. The media can bring secondary victimization to the victims causing them to suffer more or bring fame to the victim through their reporting’s. They normally do these to approve public perception in greed of popularity and profits.
Media agitation on the case of JonBenet death, ruin the rest life of Ramsey and their family. They became the subject to the member of the public. These made Ramsey suffer from the trauma of victimization because the member of the public publicly liked her as responsible for the crime (Conrad, 1999). It takes time for a victim who is suffering from this kind of trauma to cope with the shock. Moreover, the situation was worsened by the fact that the victims had to participate in a various police investigation in the search for justice. Various documents state that media coverage during the process of crime investigation can cause secondary victimization as well as led to unnecessary additional stress to the victim. The victim suffers a feeling of shame from inappropriate, unjustified reports by the media.
Media freedom and interest of justice to the victim conflicts for many times. Media is given freedom of covering information but has no right of interfering fair trial of the victim. The victim is supposed to understand their rights and freedom of media to address the negative allegation to them by the media. The victim whose name has been tarnished by media is supposed to understand that, the right of fair trial outweighs the freedom of media opinion and expression. The evidence provided in the news by media should not be presented in court as the evidence. The court should do their investigation about the victim and not rely on media evidence. If they do so they would be violating freedom of fair trial and such victim is released free (Schlesinger & Tumber, 1994). Any person who victimized by media he or she has the right to challenge the media in court by violating the right of privacy and false allegation.
Conrad, J. (1999). Lost innocent and sacrificial delegate the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Childhood, 6(3), 313-351.
Schlesinger, P., & Tumber, H. (1994). Reporting crime: The media politics of criminal justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 345-355.
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