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Privacy and the Media: A Critical Analysis

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The strength and importance of media in a democracy is well recognized. It plays the role of a conscious keeper, a watchdog of the functionaries of society and attempts to attend to the wrongs in our system, by bringing them to the knowledge of all, hoping for correction. It is indisputable that in many dimensions the unprecedented media revolution has resulted in great gains for the general public. Even the judicial wing of the state has benefited from the ethical and fearless Journalism and taken so moot cognizance of the matters in various cases after relying on their reports and news slighting grave violations of human rights.

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The criminal Justice system in this country has many lacunae which are used by the rich and powerful to go Scot-free. Figures speak for themselves in this case as does the conviction rate in our country Chick is abysmally low at 4 percent. In such circumstances the media plays a crucial role in not only monopolizing public opinion but bringing to light injustices which most likely would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

He Indian media enjoys two fold protections under the Constitution, In the form of Article 19(1 ) (a) [freedom of free speech and expression] and Article 19(1) (g) [freedom o engage in any profession, occupation, trade or business]. In today’s world, It Is very difficult for any medium to strike a balance between responsibility to do good work and the urge to gain more profit and thus on this point the conflict of the media with the privacy of a person Is coincided. It Is true that the freedom of media Is the very test upon which a democratic nation belongs. Liberty Is an essential Ingredient of any society.

Almost, the Preamble of every Constitution declares a common object, that Is – to secure liberty of thought and expression but liberty when disturbs morality comes a bane rather than a boon. Thus, the media should be aware of its huge could foresee that if the freedom of press is not regulated without any restriction how it can create havoc in the society and thus they mandated the restrictions upon Article 19(2). But law cannot become enforceable if it is restricted only to books, statutes, Acts etc. Judicial interpretation is a core element for the law to be validated. He position of freedom of media has been legally upheld and explained many times by the Apex Court but the freedom of access to all such sources of information which IS a very delicate issue has not yet been interpreted properly. Today’s media which is so concerned about marketing, earning high Traps, placing itself as number one etc. , has forgotten the dignity and responsibility which the profession contains. And since there is no law to guide the media that what exactly pricks the privacy when it has to gather information, clashes arise. The term “privacy” means many things in different contexts.

Different people, cultures, and nations have a wide variety of expectations about how much privacy a person is entitled to or what constitutes an invasion of privacy. Privacy when broadly spoken, may deal with the freedom of thought, control over one’s body, peace and peace and solitude in one’s home, control of information regarding oneself, freedom from surveillance, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and protection of reputation. Therefore, an attempt at defining privacy is of no use if the levels of abstraction do not translate into concrete specifics. The Supreme Court in a number of cases like Romeos Taper Vs..

State of Madras, Indian Express Newspapers Vs.. Union of Indian , Express Newspaper Ltd. Vs.. Union of Indian, Salk Papers Ltd. Vs.. Union of Indian etc. As guided the media in relation to their work ethics. But it was the case or R. Regional Vs.. State Of Tamil Nadia which brought a major change in the relation of media with the privacy of a person. One Garnishing alias Autochthonous had been convicted multiple charges of murder and had been sentenced to death. His mercy petition was pending before the President for consideration. There was a Tamil magazine named Knackered which Nas published from Achaean.

The contention of the publishers of this magazine was that Autochthonous while in Jail had written his autobiography which he had sent to them for publishing in the magazine. It was further contended that his autobiography when published would bring to light the close nexus that existed between Autochthonous and important ASSAI and PIPS officer in the state. Therefore, the magazine was being prevented from publishing the same. In reply, it was contended that the so called autobiography was not authentic, and a fake story had been prepared in the name of Autochthonous only to blackmail the government officers.

It Nas further contended that the petitioners were only being asked to desist from publishing that which was defamatory of the officials and which also encroach of the rivalry of Autochthonous and his family. The prayer of the petitioners that the magazine should not be prevented from publishing the writing, which they claim to be the auto biography of Auto Shank was allowed precisely for the reason that prior restraint against publication was impermissible even if the so called auto biography was fake; and for the reason that agreed persons had remedy for damages Inch they could resort to.

It is in this context that the court laid down scope the operation of libel law in the context of freedom of press in relation to the reputation eight of the government and public officers and the scope of liability for the breach of En know that liability for libel in common law is strict and the Journalist don’t have any immunity against this. Even the Indian Penal Code doesn’t provide any exception to the media.

It is true that truth can be pleaded as a defense but Justice Brenna, noted in New York Times vs. Sullivan, the obligation to prove the truth of every statement made against a public official would have a chilling effect on the press to make comments on public issues, whereas, the theory of the constitution was that here should be raw bust and uninhabited debate on public issues, in the process of Inch some caustic or biting remarks could also be made.

Justice Jayvee Reedy who delivered the Judgment of the bench, referred to Justice Brakeman’s Judgment in the said case and that of the House of Lords in Derbyshire County Council 7 and held that the government officials in their individual capacity could; but they can recover damages only if they prove that the defendant either knew that the statement was false or that he was reckless and did not care to know whether it was true or false. Thus, our Law on the point is in accord with the law of the United States rather than Ninth the Law of England as was laid down in Reynolds Vs..

Times Newspaper Ltd. 8 However, the rule framed in New York Times vs. Sullivan,9 has been extended to public figures generally. On the other hand, the decision of our Supreme Court is limited to public officials though there is no reason why the rule should not apply to public figures as a class here as well. In R. Regional,10 the scope of privacy right against unwanted publication was defined by Justice Reedy in the following world; “citizen has the right to safeguard he privacy of his own, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child bearing and education among other matters.

None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent weather truthful or otherwise and weather laudatory or critical” Today, Media is not only a medium to express once feelings, opinions and views, but it is also responsible and instrumental for building opinions and views on various topics of regional, national and international agenda. The pivotal role of the media is its ability to mobile the thinking process of millions.

The increased role of the media in today’s globalizes and tech-saws world was aptly put in the words of Justice Hand of the United States Supreme Court when he said, “The hand that rules the press, the radio, the screen and the far spread magazine, rules the country”. With the event of Liberation’s, not only the electronic media but also the print media got itself involved in the race of expanding its growth like any other business. And in this strong business marathon, the media started forgetting that it is not only an agency to gain business but also bears the greatest amount of liability upon its working norms.

Till the sass dominant news ideologies in India promoted the notion of the press as a political agent. Journalistic ethics emphasizes the duty of the press to work in tandem with the political elite to modernism the nation and educate its citizens. But this whole scenario has changed over the times and now the media, like any other corporate entity is only concerned about its magnification. The consequences of commercialism’s is that it has less freedom in writing which is the However, the media has developed alternative themes to strike a balance between reporting and monetary gaining.

Television channels in a bid to increase their TRAP ratings are resorting to sensationalists Journalism with a view to earn a competitive edge over the others. Sting operations have now become the order of the day. In law enforcement, a sting operation is an operation designed to catch a person committing a crime by means of deception. A typical sting will have a law- enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect’s actions to gather evidence of the suspect’s wrongdoing.

Now the moot question that arises is whether it is for he media to act as the ‘law enforcement agency? The carrying out of a sting operation may be an expression of the right to free press but it carries with it an indomitable duty to respect the privacy of others. The individual who is the subject of press or television has his or her personality, reputation or career dashed to the ground after the media exposure. He too has a fundamental right to live with dignity and respect and a right to privacy guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the [Shark Sings v. State of Attar Pradesh and Others 1, Goblin v.

Constitution. State of Madhya Pradesh and Another 12]. Today, it is being witnessed that the over- Inquisitive media, which is a product of over-centralization, is severely encroaching the individual’s right to privacy by crossing the boundaries of its freedom. No doubt, the sting operations carried by the media can give effect to minimize the biggest challenge our country is facing that is “Corruption” and many other such evils. The weapon which was meant to fight these evils is being misused and is now a product for blackmailing and intervening the privacy zone of a person. He second practice which has become more of a daily occurrence now is that of Media trials. Something which was started to show to the public at large the truth about cases has now become a practice interfering dangerously with the Justice delivery system. A person is made culprit in the eyes of the public even before the court decides. Trial by media has created a problem because it involves a tug of war between two conflicting principles – free press and free trial, both of which the public are vitally interested.

The freedom of the press stems from the right of the public in a democracy to be involved on the issues of the day, which affect them. This is the justification for investigative and campaign Journalism. A number of decisions of the U. S Supreme Court confirm the potential dangerous impact the media could have upon trials. In the case of Billie Sol Estes,13 the U. S. Supreme Court set aside the conviction of a Texas financier for denial of his constitutional rights of due process of law as during the pre-trial hearing extensive and obtrusive television coverage took place.

The Court laid down a rule that televising of notorious criminal trials is indeed prohibited by the “due process of law’ clause of Amendment Fourteen. In England too, the House of Lords in the celebrated case of Attorney General v. British eradicating Corporation has agreed that media trials affect the Judges despite the claim of Judicial superiority over human frailty and it was observed that a man may not be able to put that which he has seen, heard or read entirely out of his mind and that he may be subconsciously affected by it. The Courts and Tribunals have matters according to the procedure established by the law.

Similarly there have been a plethora of cases in India on the point. The observations of the Delhi High Court in Boors Case [Cartooning Kemp Echo Fornicating ABA and Or’s. V. State through CB] 15 is very much relevant, as the Court weighed in favor of the accused right of fair trial while calculating the role of media in streamlining the criminal Justice system. Media’s trial is Just like awarding sentence before giving the verdict at the first instance. Even The 20th report of the Law Commission dealt with the issue of Trial by media: Free Speech vs. Fair Trial under Criminal Procedure.

The report, focused on the pre-Judicial coverage of a crime, accused and suspects, and how it impacts the administration of Justice. The rights of an accused are protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to fair trial. This protects the accused from the over-zealous media glare which can prejudice the case. Although, in recent times the media has failed to observe restraint in covering high-profile murder cases, much of which has been hailed as media’s success in ensuring Justice to the common man.

For instance, in the Jessica Ala murder case, the media took great pride in acting as a facilitator of Justice. The media in the case whipped up public opinion against he accused and held him guilty even when the trial court had acquitted the accused. The Apex Court observed that the freedom of speech has to be carefully and cautiously used to avoid interference in the administration of Justice. If trial by media hampers fair investigation and prejudices the right of defense of the accused it would amount to travesty of Justice.

The Court remarked that the media should not act as an agency of the court. 16 The media trials have very negative effect as far as the society is concerned. As the media has this ample power in influencing the mindset of the people, so before even going to the court, a person is made convicted in the eyes of the society thereby disrupting his reputation, image, privacy etc. His survival becomes Jeopardized which is against the Right to personal life and personal dignity. And the sad part is that if that individual comes clean out of the court then there is no apology from the media.

The irreparable loss which they make in a person’s life doesn’t become a concern for them anymore. And somehow, the media today to obtain interest of the public have started dramatic representation of any sews coverage, irrespective of how sensitive the issue is. The conferring of the Right to Freedom of Press as an annexed to the Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression is apt and Justified. Being a social creature, it is very important for us to know about the whereabouts of the society or surroundings near us. The Press has been an ample part of the society from time immemorial.

The media has been an influential aspect of gathering public opinion on the happenings of the society, bringing out the social evils to the world, making people aware of any calamities, bringing out scams etc. Urinals, a service oriented profession, entails great responsibility. Journalists are vigilant watchdogs of civil liberties, and are required to make critical scrutiny and careful questioning of various aspects of our daily life, in order to generate healthy public debates that would help augmenting the way we perceive existence in society and before the professional association.

The social responsibility of the Journalist requires that he acts in accordance with his personal ethical standards. Respecting the right of society to objective information, the Journalist must convey truthful formation without hindering the personal space of an individual. The news should be based on facts and information where truthfulness can be checked. The trust Inch is conveyed upon a Journalist should not be abused. Rhea modern media involve capital investment; use of machinery and raw materials and employment of labor and technicians.

In all this respect, they are similar to any other business enterprise. And like the business class, stiff competition thrives in the Media world too. And in this race, day to day they are forgetting about the principles f Responsible Journalism thereby invading the personal space of a person. There should be a healthy competition but the object of the competition should not only be restricted to money making, but indulging in carrying substantial reporting and providing responsible news.

Nevertheless, only discussing, analyzing or criticizing a problem will not give any solution. And when the issue has so much societal connection as the case herein, it should be dealt cautiously. Firstly, we need strong laws on this subject especially some guidelines in how far the media can extend its eight to expression in relation to the privacy of a person. That is, a clear distinction mark is essential in this tug of war between Right to freedom of press and the Right to privacy, both of which are constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Only the laws will not help, strong implementation is also necessary. Secondly, the media which creates so much awareness in the society should also create awareness among itself as far as their working ethics is concerned. There is no question about the labor and determination which they put in their work to morally raise the society, but this royalty graph should also be binding upon them to garner the strong democracy Inch is the need of the hour.

Earlier, the media was only an aid to the society, but now, it has itself gone a parabolic transition and is a recognized society itself. I can conclude in the words of famous Journalist Mr.. Arcaded Sardines who said: “l guess journalists are more feared today, but sadly less respected. We are more arrogant, less ethical”. But this scenario can be changed if the media people become a little more tolerant and dedicated towards their profession with honesty and integrity as hey have this huge responsibility of showing both the concave and the convex sides of the society.

Cite this Privacy and the Media: A Critical Analysis

Privacy and the Media: A Critical Analysis. (2018, Feb 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/privacy-and-the-media-a-critical-analysis/

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