The role of mass media in crime investigation | Australia

Crime Investigation | Australia
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Introduction
The interaction of media and the criminal justice system in Australia has had a great impact on the perception of the community about justice. Selective coverage of criminal trials and agenda setting are all methods that produce a very important role. The reliance of public on media for information as well as for the purpose of entertainment poses many differences between the objectives perceived versus the objectives gained. However, the public still continues to depend on mass media as to medium to assess the criminal justice system and the process contained within the same. The objectives of media within the scope of criminal justice system can be seen as one of the ways that can be derived from various sources. The need to inform, entertain and educate the people has become the laying stone of Australian media (Johnson 2016). The present paper aims to analyse the role of mass media investigations in Australia with the help of famous case studies.

Free speech
In the famous case of Nationwide News Pty Ltd v. Wills and Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v. Commonwealth, the Court described freedom of speech as an indispensable way to accountability of the executive and legislative power. By using freedom of speech, a person can communicate his or her views to different matters and may also seek the relevance to any political matter. However, some judges have also imposed their restriction on freedom of speech because people often perceive this right as their personal right. The comments were further analysed by the High Court to determine whether the legislation infringed the freedom of speech. The same was analysed in the case of Lange v. Australian Broadcasting Corporation and was later changed in Coleman v. Power. The given legislation asks whether the law burdens the implied freedom or not and if it does so then there is an appropriate manner to serve the legal end. If the law burdens the freedom then it will said to have infringed the right to constitutional limitation otherwise it will be regarded as appropriate (Chalmers, Lancaster and Hughes 2016).

Right to fair trial and the Media
As per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights public hearing is a very essential part of the covenant. The article was replicated in other international covenants to which Australia is a party. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights assumes all persons as innocent unless otherwise proven guilty. Public hearing is one of the core principles of criminal proceedings and laws. It is very important as it allows both professional and public examination to prevent and maintain injustice. Thus, it can be said that mass media plays a very important role when it comes to investigation of criminals and crimes (Berns 2017).

Media as an investigative tool
Media representations of crime have been a recurrent cause of concern and people are still fascinated by crime despite the fact that they always condemn it.  Mass media has an important role to play in modern culture as they play in the construction of criminal justice system and criminality. The effect of mass media is very limited in changing the thoughts and actions of people. It us argued that people chose to watch what they already believe. However, this approach has been criticized by many theorists because of media has a limited role in forming and discussing issues. The manner in which the issue is framed depends on many solutions and conclusions that people may draw. Secondly, the dominance of media shall become widespread with the application of the given rule (Roberts 2018).

Moreover, the upper class of people can control and dominate the role of mass media in making investigations. Media houses do make money from advertisement and most of them comes from multinational companies. Thus, it can be said that intervention on their part may make mass media biased at times making their investigations unreliable. Sometimes the language used by media is revealing too which makes them ultra liberal. Those people who argue that a elite can control media attention have also pointed out the manner in which media attention is gained by liberal political ideas. Political issues have still not gained enough importance. Finally, sometimes mass media makes claims and theories that interact with media to create their own meanings and images that they receive. People asses the material they receive with the help of knowledge and experience. Finally, it can be said that because of the above-mentioned points it becomes very difficult to completely mass media for the purpose of investigation. The fear of media is very recognized idea and most criminal events are frightening. Fear of crime has become a very important part of research in media as it forms a relationship between fear of crime and media consumption (Daly and Wilson 2017).

However, for the police mass media has given people unprecedented access to public and vice versa. Police and public can now communicate in an easy manner about real time events and incidents. This has proven invaluable at the times of crisis on both local and national level. By using freedom of speech, a person can communicate his or her views to different matters and may also seek the relevance to any political matter. However, some judges have also imposed their restriction on freedom of speech because people often perceive this right as their personal right. The comments were further analysed by the High Court to determine whether the legislation infringed the freedom of speech. The same was analysed in the case of Lange v. Australian Broadcasting Corporation and was later changed in Coleman v. Power. The given legislation asks whether the law burdens the implied freedom or not and if it does so then there is an appropriate manner to serve the legal end. If the law burdens the freedom then it will said to have infringed the right to constitutional limitation otherwise it will be regarded as appropriate.

Mass media has become a very important part of police investigations as they help police investigations with the release of CCTV footage and other similar sources. Moreover, the broadcasting of criminal trials has added an extra level of transparency in the criminal proceedings (Gould and Olivares 2017).

Conclusion
As media is continuously, evolving and new issues are taking place every day, social media continues to provide opportunities and challenges for criminal justice officers and change the way public understand and engages with criminals and crimes. The calls for bans and other restrictions to mass media would not be yielding proper results. Mass media requires to stay and for this we need to think outside the box so that everyone is able to understand the phenomenon and capitalize its benefits and prevent or reduce their efforts in relation to criminal justice system or crime. The reliance of public on media for information as well as for the purpose of entertainment poses many differences between the objectives perceived versus the objectives gained. However, the public continues to depend on mass media as to medium to assess the criminal justice system and the process contained within the same. The objectives of media within the scope of criminal justice system can be seen as one of the ways that can be derived from various sources. The need to inform, entertain and educate the people has become the laying stone of Australian media

References

Berns, N.S., 2017. Framing the victim: Domestic violence, media, and social problems. Routledge.

Chalmers, J., Lancaster, K. and Hughes, C., 2016. The stigmatisation of ‘ice’and under-reporting of meth/amphetamine use in general population surveys: a case study from Australia. International Journal of Drug Policy, 36, pp.15-24.

Daly, M. and Wilson, M., 2017. Homicide: Foundations of human behavior. Routledge.

Gould, M.S. and Olivares, M., 2017. Mass Shootings and Murder-Suicide: Review of the Empirical Evidence for Contagion. Media and Suicide: International Perspectives on Research, Theory, and Policy. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Johnson, L., 2016. The unseen voice: A cultural study of early Australian radio. Routledge.

Roberts, J., 2018. Public opinion, crime, and criminal justice. Routledge.