Trial by Media: Is the Media the Best-Storyteller?

Vrinda Patodia and Ashima Objan analyse the case of “Sushant Singh Rajput (“SSR”) media trial of 2020” in the course of which a woman (referred to as “the Actress” in the media) has been arrested for false accusations based on evidence gathered by “investigative journalism”. The authors claim that “The persistent efforts of the channels for arrest of the Actress did bear fruit in that although the CBI did not find reason to arrest her, she came to be arrested by the NCB. After a monthlong incarceration, this Court granted the Actress bail upon recording a finding that materials collected thus far by the NCB prima facie did not suggest that she had committed any offence.” In response, a writ petitions were presented to the Bombay High Court raising concerns on the role of the electronic media in reporting matters concerning investigations. Bombay High Court directed the print and electronic media to exercise restraint and to refrain from publishing any news items, debates, discussions, interviews while reporting certain cases or at a particular stage of investigation especially during a pre-trial stage.

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