Trial By Media Essay

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A crime is an act punishable by the state that causes harm or discontent against a community or individual. Crime is known to be “an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law”1. Crime can be classified through a variety of elements which violate the rights of a community at large. Acts of crime are punishable upon proof of guilt that are presented in the court of law. Consequently, criminal law is the law which defines these crimes and may aid or establish their subsequent punishments. These criminal laws are enforced through criminal procedures and trials. These trials however, can be influenced, corrected, and sometimes even regulated by the media. This creates a strong …show more content…
Technological advances have increased dramatically in the later 20th and early 21st century, therefore this can be the cause for the popularity of trial by media within Australian contemporary society. Television, internet and newspaper coverage and access of selected information is the large cause of trial by media issues, creating a debate between the idea of freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

The subject area of trial by media, can be found within the Defamation Act (NSW) 2005, where inappropriate publication can harm the reputation of another person. In 2005 child molester Dennis Ferguson was charged and sentenced of child molestation. The immense amount of media coverage expressed on the case prevented his chance at a fair trial. This caused for a “bench trial” with the absence of a jury and he was therefore released on the precedent for the need of proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, due to trial by media, the name of Dennis Ferguson had been defamed within society and the image portrayed by the media was detrimental to his safety and he was forced to flee various Queensland towns. Abuse however, did not end, causing more attention to the influence of the media on trials as people heard of his new location and “the police were called after 60 people began chanting anti-Ferguson slogans”2. This

The media
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