Arnab came, spoke and enthralled the audience at Christ University. Among other things Arnab replied to a question on 'Trial by Media'. This is rather contentious and there is a divided reaction to this among the media professionals. What is trial by media? It refers to the usurping of the powers of the judiciary by the press to do a parallel trial and reach a conclusion about the guilt or otherwise of the accused.
Most television channels have been conducting trial by media. In some instances, the travesty of justice is sought to be corrected by media campaign in high profile cases. Jessica Lal and Priyadarshini Matoo cases are just two examples where media took upon itself to bring the culprits to book and in the process aid justice. In some of the other cases; Shiney Ahuja in particular, the media conducted trial before the judicial process took off and convicted the accused. Many felt that Shiney didn't get a free and fair trial due to the media intervention.
Arnab had an interesting take on this issue- as long as the case has not taken off formally in a court of law the media can report, analyse and pass judgements on the case. This stand may not be universal nor acceptable to all. It also may not conform to the legal provisions governing contempt of court law. Freedom of the press and the right of a man/woman charged with a crime to a free and fair trial are at loggerheads here. Media has a responsibility to see that justice is done as many cases involving powerful people needs monitoring as there is scope for manipulation. At the same time this cannot be an excuse to deny the accused a chance at proving his innocence.