MEDIA TRIALS V. FREEDOM OF PRESS
By Mallika Atul Bhaskar
We are in the midst of a major media trial right now in India. A lawsuit that appears in the newspaper, now decided in the court of public opinion, is called a “media prosecution.” It is a standard practice to hold a media trial alongside a criminal inquiry of this kind.
The murders of Aarushi Talwar and Sheena Bora have brought India’s constitutional right to privacy into focus once again. Most recently, the death of Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput has garnered similar media coverage, leading once again to a conflict with the fundamental human right to privacy.
Even though he passed away, over the past few months the bulk of Indian media has waged a completely unchecked “media trial” The newspapers printed everything he had ever done in his life, from his personal records to his bank account to purchases with other individuals whom he met to private photos and videos of those he’d had been with, unaware of the inquiry. Because this has been done, the personal integrity of the individual has been violated and the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ policy has been challenged.
And this raises an interesting question: Would the Indian Constitution enable the media to step into individuals’ private lives in the name of “freedom of the press”? According to this piece, we would have a look at media courts, which is also referred to as India’s “fourth estate of democracy,” as every proposed legislation is subject to different forms of legal checks and balances.
Keywords: Administration of justice, fair trial, freedom of speech, prejudice, reasonable restriction
©2020- Lex Humanitariae: Journal for a Change