Media scrutiny of the judiciary


EVERY happening in the institution of the judiciary is a public affair. Therefore, the media need to transcend the obvious to fulfil their democratic task. Stenography journalism, as it is loosely called, cannot initiate meaningful discussions about how courts work or do not work. Issues like the real methods of judicial appointments in a system that is notoriously opaque are seldom investigated. Judicial behaviour on and off the bench is not a subject matter for media discourse. The questions relating to internal democracy in the courts are seldom addressed. The functioning of the courts is often analysed only in terms of the judgments pronounced. The Bar-bench equations or the power relations within the system remain alien to media scan. The “litigation industry” in the country is yet to have its democratic critics.

A new brand of journalism has emerged, at least in a few constitutional democracies, which is capable of exposing the judiciary as an effective branch of the modern state, ...

Publicity in the modern media context means transparency and visibility. In the United Kingdom, famous constitutional cases are telecast live... The South African court, created by a relatively recent Constitution, has adopted an open interview system as a scientific method of selection to the higher judiciary to which the media have access...

... the press has to be “closer to the court”. It needs to evolve a forensic methodology in institutional evaluation. As Albert Camus rightly said: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Source: Frontline. To read more Click here


Mumbai Press Club
Article posted on 15/11/2015

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