The media can indeed become a real cause of violence and crime escalation. People, particularly children and teenagers are fascinated and inspired by the depicted violence and crime. They tend to identify themselves more with the perpetuators of the crime, than with the victims. This state of affairs is mainly attributed to aggressive newspaper reporting, video games, movies and televisions. Movies motivate youth everywhere, and it is either unfortunate or hard luck that only negative aspirations like crime and violence are portrayed more, which are quickly grasped too.
These violent crime scenes drive even adults to imitate them, driving them to be more prepared psychologically. The love to watch violence and crime is gradually enhanced in the children, who are drawn to the gun culture. In fact even the type of guns used in movies are looked with awe and admiration. Several studies, government reports and surveys have reinforced the view that media violence indeed produced negative effects on the people. Notable among these were the Surgeon General’s ‘Television and Growing Up’ report in 1972, National Institute of Mental Health’s ‘Television and Behavior’ report in 1982 etc.
Several professional organizations and federal bodies too had also raised concern on media violence. The growing public opinion on the issue was mainly the cause for the establishment of the 1996 Telecommunication Act, which required television set manufacturers to have televisions sets modeled with a ‘V’ chip. The chip which indicated violence, enabled parents to block out violent content. Opinion on media, crime and enforcement activities 3 Although the media has a moral duty to report whatever they see; this does not imply that they can report crime details that can harm the society.
When media begins to be more responsible and think in the interests of the society rather than its self interests, the media can definitely spearhead positive transformation of the society. Responsible media should, show more pictures or photos of the suspects so that they can be identified by the public. They can elaborate more on the police efforts, like the arrests carried out, the shrewdness of policemen concerned. The people need to know that the police are working on apprehending the criminals and the media can benefit both, the people and police by appropriate reporting.
People can be brought to identify themselves with the law enforcement and support them. Their efforts of the enforcement people could be highlighted, rather than the methods and success of the criminals. Media and public attitude The public attitude on crime is as important as controlling crime itself and the media has a crucial role in the development of that attitude. Public awareness of crime and associated developments is mainly got from media. The public opinion of the criminals, victims, police, law and order situation are all based on those presented by the media.
When media glorify the criminals, it unfortunately encourages people to take to crime, at least just for the coverage and glory (Insite Media, 2000). Rather than just reporting on what was done, the media would unnecessarily discuss the methods and plans of the Opinion on media, crime and enforcement activities 4 criminals, in detail. When such inappropriate situations are displayed in detail, it raises a sense of inquisitiveness and confidence on the people, who are tempted to experiment it.
The National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice, conduced in 1995, showed that older people had better perception of the police, while the younger people had a lower perception of police efficiency. Although dramas, entertainment and tabloid programs depict police as heroes, the print and electronic news show police as being ineffective and incompetent (Surette, 1998). Mostly, the portrayal of crime leads to development of negative behavior among the public. Studies have shown that constant listening to crime stories creates a sense of fear in the minds of the people. People become unnecessarily scared and suspicious.
The prospects of people adapting to crime due to inappropriate media coverage is increased by the failure of the media to emphasize on the punishments offered. Sometimes media can even cause social unrest when minor incidences of communal or racial conflicts are overblown, which raises passion among people. It is important for responsible media to not exploit the situation. Instead of reporting on what happened and finishing it off, the media would sometimes want to emphasize it again and again, by which the negative aspects of the incident is over emphasized, encouraging the youth to try the same thing to gain attention.
Media can contribute immensely to the cause of the society by reporting in appropriate ways by which it cannot only garner public opinion and support for the law Opinion on media, crime and enforcement activities 5 enforcement people, but also get people involved in tackling such issues. To achieve this, they should place their social cause and interests above their ratings and profits. Police brutality Police brutality is a very controversial topic and is a prominent human rights abuse violation throughout the world. Although law invariably suggests police brutality as illegal, several people indeed support it.
Their concern is that if all brutality from the police is ceased, criminals would be operating on a softer ground. Police without their brutality approach would not only deprive them of their feared look, but also make their work more unsuccessful and ineffective. Limited force is sometimes essential in elucidating information or a confession, and at times may be the only way of getting information. It is not a secret that government themselves secretly approve third degree treatments, particularly on war hostages and terrorists.
Police brutality often goes unnoticed because police themselves are part of the machinery that checks these offences. Police brutality in the form of unwanted shootings, beatings and kicking may sometimes result in serous injuries or even death of the suspect. When such unfortunate situations happen, police are quick to come out with a denial of charges and put a suitable theory to account for the happenings. However if the charges against the police are serious and have gained much public attention, then there would more likely be a mild administrative reprimand.
Apart from the need to extract information, Opinion on media, crime and enforcement activities 6 police resort to brutality for several reasons, including personal vengeance or hatred against a particular community or race. The accused or suspect is also brutally assaulted when the police have had a tough time in apprehending him. The methods adopted by the police in the course of their brutality is highly diverse and unimaginable. Apart from the physical injuries, the victims also suffer from a mental trauma.
The laws and punishments are formed to appropriately deal with the crimes caused. Thus extreme brutality by the police adds to the decided punishment. There must be more public awareness on the nature of police brutality and abuse of human rights by policemen. Although brutality may be a requirement for the police, it should not be misused at the will and fancy of the policemen. Since it is not possible to prevent police brutality, society can benefit by regulating it, and actions of the police made more transparent and accountable.
The Human Rights Watch group acknowledges that police too are prone to making mistakes, as they sometimes need to take instant decisions. Any amount of training, counseling or monitoring cannot make them perform perfectly. However, they need to be under severe scrutiny to ensure that their actions are justifiable (Human Rights Watch, 2007). Abolishment of death penalty Capital punishment or death penalty is one of the most debated forms of punishments. Most developed countries have put an end to death penalties.
Opinion on media, crime and enforcement activities 7 requires abolishing of death penalty as a condition to its membership. . However, there are still a large number of countries, which are still retaining it (DGER, 2007). Countries like US have re-imposed it, after considerable public support, when the no-death penalty policy led to a spurt in crimes. When people are sentenced to death, it generally takes several years before the actual execution. The convicted person meanwhile is housed in the death row, which is the housing for prisoners awaiting death.
The nature of execution, the reasons for execution, tolerance and amnesty methods vary from country to country. In some countries death penalties are not imposed on the juveniles. When the US Supreme Court had struck down juvenile death penalty in 2002, there were already 22 juvenile death executions. Deaths are carried out by several methods. The most prominently followed ways are lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad. There have been instances particularly with the electric chair malfunctioning leading to serious injuries on the person to be executed.