Media and the Criminal Justice System

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Criminal justice Pages: 5 (1539 words) Published: October 21, 2013
Media has a strong influence on today's society and the criminal justice system. Interaction with the media continues to create problems in overcoming the racial disparities in this nation, due to crime that is committed by ethnic minorities in the media increasing racial stereotypes. Media also has a great influence and disadvantages regarding high profile criminal cases, affecting the way Americans view the criminal justice system. High exposure to the news and entertainment media has been proven it increase fear,which can rise the crime rates in communities. In any case, when turning on the news and looking through the pages of a local newspaper, minorities , mostly African-Americans are the central focus of crime ,creating the portal that blacks are the main source of crime in our nation (see figure 1). The graph below shows the increasing amount of black on black crimes over the years. A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States .The media has led to racial stereotypes of African-Americans due to the amount of “black on black” crime that is reported everyday. Fig. 1. Homicide victims by race and gender of the victims 1933-2005;Department of Justice Report;2007

More so, informing the public of what occurred instead of solutions to the problem. This issue results to a misunderstanding by the viewer who assumes that the images and facts portrayed are representations of racial groups as a whole, instead of those particular people that are being mentioned. The media can also influence the law enforcement opinion of blacks, they have been many illegal actions on the basis of an individual race and ethnicity known as racial profiling. In addition,victims who are an ethnic minority are rarely featured on the news, unlike Caucasian victims who claim the spotlight in media entertainment. Such as the murder of Teryvon Martin. As a result, of the media's false portrayals of crime and offenders has resulted in the continuation of prejudicial beliefs in our country. The main point of this issue is the problem of racial profiling that exists in various communities within our society including the criminal justice system. However, media coverage or press attention in criminal cases poses its advantages and disadvantages. Publicity can cause unknown witnesses to come forward so that their information may be considered and the facts correctly determined. It can also help to ensure that the person who is charged is being treated fairly by subjecting their decisions to the public. Media coverage can also provide the encouragement for needed changes in the criminal justice system . Media in criminal cases can also have its disadvantages. Publicity may cause some judges or prosecutors, particularly those who must re elected , to act in a manner to help his or her votes rather than in the manner of fairness and justice. The media can also influence the jurors decision. There are laws that protects a jury from being influenced by media reporting, but there have been situations where criminal cases hear claims that a defendant cannot get a fair trial because of the media. These concerns are taken seriously by judges and also by reporters and editors who can face imprisonment for compromising the legal process. Yet there has been many opinions from lawyers and journalists, that most juries are sophisticated enough to ignore media reports when they are asked to return a verdict.There have been many high profile cases where the media influence the public and exposed themselves in a negative manner , as well as informed the public of the wrongdoing of the criminal justice system. For example, The Treyvon Martin case exposed the worst in the media. Similar to what I stated in the beginning of this paper. The media rarely broadcast victims that are African-American. It...

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