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Major Project

Major Project

Ratings: (0)|Views: 106 |Likes:
Published by Mamta
College project
College project

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Published by: Mamta on Aug 02, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/15/2014

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Introduction
Media activism refers to a situation where media specifically focuses on aparticular issue and starts spreading awareness on it. Media activism aims tobring reforms in the society or the prevalent situation. There are variouscases where media has taken up an issue and drawn the attention of thesociety towards it. Media played a significant role and forced the judiciaryand the law and order agencies to undertake a fair trial and punish theguilty. There are a number of such cases, for instance, Jessica Lal,Priyadarshini Matto, Nitish Katara, BMW and recently in Ruchika Girhotracase. All these were high profile cases where the powerful tried tomanipulate the evidence and influence the witnesses in their favour. Thedisclosure of facts to the general public by the media relating to each of these cases had been the key to the success.Though media raised some valid issues about the problems in our judicialsystem, it has also been criticised for conducting media trials. Many criticsblame the electronic media for sensationalizing the information to alluremore and more viewers. It has been tagged as only a corporate interested inmaking money through higher TRPs leading to higher advertisement profits.This could be true to a large extent. The presentation of each of thesestories has been dramatic.When a five-year old boy, Prince fell into an open manhole the live coverageon channels made sure that everyone from the local MP, the Chief Minister,the district administration and the Army spared no effort to bring out theboy alive.Some people also termed it as activism of the elite. Despite all this printmedia exercised some caution and did not sensationalise the cases.
 
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Such cases often trigger a discussion on how the media tramples onprinciples of natural justice, holds judgement in an open court, often doesn’trespect the sanctity of the law of the land and creates a situation when anaccused is already held guilty without the verdict being pronounced.However, this does not happen in Ruchika’s case as Rathore has beenalready held guilty by the court.When the verdict came in the Ruchika Girhotra vs. S. P. S. Rathore case onDecember 21, 2009 and Rathore walked out of the court with a smile on hisface he caught the attention of the media. After that media not only pursuedthe developments in the case but also focused on the minimal punishmentand his immediate bail. Media not only covered the latest developments inthe case but also highlighted the loop holes and corruption in the Indiancriminal justice system.Nineteen years ago, S.P.S. Rathore, a senior police official in Haryana,molested Ruchika Girhotra after arranging to meet her at the local lawntennis club, of which he was president.An internal police probe in 1990 into the assault recommended a case befiled but Rathore was promoted and his influence grew further when he waslater named as the top police officer for the entire state.Ruchika, in the meantime, was expelled from her school. The expulsion, thefamily claims, was part of a campaign of intimidation and harassmentdesigned to force the family to drop their complaint and prevent anyprosecution of the policeman. According to the family, Ruchika’s brotherAshu was accused of theft and then abused in jail on Rathore’s orders.Tormented by the stress, Ruchika finally poisoned herself in 1993 at the ageof 17. Her brother was released from jail soon after she died.
 
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Nineteen years later, now court has held Rathore guilty of molestation andsentenced him to six months in jail and a 1000 rupee fine.S.P.S. Rathore’s counsel claimed before the trial court that media played anegative role in the case and published news items selectively in collusionwith the complainant party. The judge, while convicting and sentencingRathore, took note of his grievance that he felt mental stress because of themedia trial. But the judge held that the court had concern only with the factsand circumstances available on record and not with what any other agencyreported about the accused or the victim. He also made it clear thatRathore’s grievance could not be a ground for taking a liberal view on thequantum of sentence.Indeed, the national media were guilty of ignoring this case and itsramifications all these years. Obviously, whatever little coverage of the casewas there in the local media had no impact on the judge. Still, the questionraised by Rathore cannot be dismissed easily.There is genuine concern that any prejudicial publication or broadcast in themedia about a person after his or her arrest may cause substantial prejudicein the criminal proceedings that must be taken to be imminent, irrespectiveof whether the person is released later. However, it is the media’s steadfastinvestigation that brought to light several aspects of Rathore’s high-handedness, which had gone unreported earlier, let alone be investigated bythe police and prosecuted in a court of law.The question about the extent of media restraint in the case is importantand needs to be answered in the light of the current legal position. In asituation where fresh FIRs have been filed against him and his arrest isimminent, it can be asked whether the media can continue to cover thecases against Rathore with a perceived prejudice against him. Section 3 (2)of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, read with its explanation, excludes from

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thanks to gve knwldg about the Media ....Mam
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