Media Essays – Media Fiction Fact

Media Fiction Fact

‘Media portraitures of jurisprudence, be they fiction or fact, are inevitably deformations of reality’ . Discuss with mention to the module’s readings and, if relevant, illustrate with specific illustrations drawn from the seminars


‘I think we can state that the public’s attitude to the condemnable justness system is greatly, likely dominantly, affected and influenced by what they read in newspapers, hear on wireless, ticker on telecasting and, now of class, see on the cyberspace. In other words the media’ . As the celebrated legal journalist, Marcel Berlins explains, the media has become a powerful and important beginning of legal information and a agency by which single perceptual experiences about the jurisprudence are formed and shaped.

The concern nevertheless, is that the media is besides capable of carrying people to follow and back impressions about the legal system that are based on ‘misconceptions, false facts or prejudice’ . By utilizing assorted images and sounds the media is able to act upon the public’s reaction to legal issues, and convert the populace to accept the media’s distorted position.

The inquiry so becomes whether all media representations are a deformation of world or whether the media is besides capable of accurately portraying the jurisprudence. Information and representations become distorted when they are presented in a mode that is misdirecting and inconsistent with their original signifier. The instance of Caesar Barber is a clear illustration of media’s ability to show the jurisprudence in a mode that falls within the definition of deformation.

Caesar Barber commenced a category action case against assorted fast nutrient eating houses for neglecting to inform the populace about the harmful hazards associated with the ingestion of fast nutrient. Although, the purpose of the case was to raise public consciousness and effort to do big corporations lawfully accountable for their ‘pervasive deceptions’ , the media, in an effort to pull readers, used assorted tactics to sabotage the importance and socio-legal deductions of the instance. Assorted newspapers and reputable journalists used catchy phrases, humourous images and witty headlines to give the narrative an amusement quality and create market value.

Harmonizing to some observers, the media must fall back to these theatrical jokes and dramatic techniques in order to retain its ‘mass appeal’ . As Margaret Thornton notes, the media are forced to show deformed images of the legal system in order to procure evaluations and retain its power and influence over the populace: ‘Accurate portraitures, such as the American TV series,Paper Chase, which was located in a jurisprudence school, have had to be withdrawn because of their unpopularity.

Similarly, the geographic expedition and explication of legal philosophy are considered to be excessively dull and complex for popular media’ . Therefore, as a concern, the media responds to market force per unit areas by using assorted tactics to pull consumers including utilizing deceptive headlines and false images to motivate emotional responses.

It is exactly because the media choices and chooses what to concentrate on, that they necessarily misrepresent the jurisprudence and film over the line between fact and fiction. Events are defined as being fabricated if they are untrue, fanciful or based on a false belief. Although the term ‘fiction’ is normally equated with the imaginativeness, fabricated events can include existent people and experiences, but are chiefly viewed as a signifier of amusement.

In contrast, a fact is normally equated with truth and world and is defined in jurisprudence as ‘a thing that is indisputably the case’ or ‘the truth about events as opposed to interpretation’ . The differentiation between fact and fiction is melting as world is going more fictionalized through the media’s usage of narrative devices such as metaphors. It is the media’s ability to show their version of the narrative in a realistic mode that makes it hard for the populace to spot the truth.

Although there is strong support for the statement that ‘media portraitures of the jurisprudence, be they fiction or fact, are inevitably deformations of reality’ , the existent issue is whether this is so a cause for concern. Many media critics are concerned that the media will necessarily sabotage the public’s assurance in the bench, attorneies and the legal system.

This anxiousness is founded on the thought that the media is the head or exclusive beginning of legal information, and that audiences are incapable of defying media influences in explicating their sentiments about the jurisprudence. The purpose of this paper therefore, will be to research the relationship between the media and the jurisprudence, and analyze the ways in which the media distorts the jurisprudence through representations of world based on fact and fiction. The last portion of the paper will be devoted to analyzing whether or non the media’s ability to belie the jurisprudence is so as debatable and unreassuring as it foremost appears.

Relationship between the media and the jurisprudence

The media and the jurisprudence are inextricably linked in a figure of ways. First, the media is the topic of legal discourse. Lawyers, Judgess and policy shapers are invariably involved in the ordinance of different signifiers of media such as the wireless, telecasting, newspapers, and the cyberspace. Media ordinance has become an of import legal issue and efforts have been made to develop regulations curtailing media content and to find who should hold control over the production of media signifiers.

Second, the jurisprudence and media are connected through media communications about the jurisprudence and legal events. Whether it is an advertizement for a jurisprudence house, a world courtroom programme, a newspaper article on a current legal event, or an internet web log on a controversial legal issue, the media is a changeless beginning of legal information. Although the jurisprudence is likely most seeable in extremely institutionalised topographic points such as the tribunals, jurisprudence houses and constabulary Stationss, it is besides present through media representations of offense and justness.

It is through media portraitures of jurisprudence that the relationship between the jurisprudence and media manifests itself. As Sheila Brown provinces,‘By picturing the procedures of jurisprudence and justness within the dramatic conventions of world Television, courtroom soap opera, the voyeurism of human involvement, and the aesthetics of visuality, media civilization and the jurisprudence sometimes appear to go indivisible domains’ .

The relationship between the media and the jurisprudence is farther strengthened by the fact that both are present in our mundane lived experience. A common sense attack to understanding the construct of the ‘everyday life’ suggests that it is ‘the everyday act of carry oning one’s daily existence’ . Based on this position, the everyday is merely a representation of single experiences that impact on the formation of one’s sentiments and individuality.

Since the mundane life is interwoven into human experience it is both obviously obvious and concealed because it is frequently ‘taken-for-granted’ . As Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns note, citing from Schutz and Luckmann’sStructures of the Life World,‘The universe of mundane life is accordingly man’s cardinal and overriding reality…It is the unexamined land of everything given in my experience…the taken-for-granted frame in which all the jobs which I must get the better of are placed’ .

The jurisprudence is representative of the mundane life because it is an built-in portion of our day-to-day modus operandi and plays a important function in assorted facets of our life such as our household, calling, community and instruction. From registering for divorce, to claiming sexual torment in the workplace, or to enduring an hurt at the custodies of a rummy driver we encounter the jurisprudence on a day-to-day footing in its assorted forms and signifiers.

It is exactly because the jurisprudence is an built-in portion of our every twenty-four hours experience that it becomes a dominant beginning of cognition that ‘helps form experiences, readings, and apprehensions of societal life’ . However, because the jurisprudence is a constituent of one’s day-to-day modus operandi and wonts, people are by and large incognizant of the law’s influence over their day-to-day experiences and constructs of societal life.

The same rule can be said to use to the media. Like the jurisprudence, the media penetrates our day-to-day lives, helps explicate our apprehension of societal world, and its influence and power in determining single perceptual experiences of the universe is often ignored. Therefore, the media are frequently viewed as both entertainers and an ‘agents of socialization’ who play a important function in determining the public’s apprehension of the jurisprudence and legal procedures.

As a dominant beginning of legal information, the media is frequently viewed as the primary agencies by which the jurisprudence is able to go a portion of the mundane life. The media educates the populace about attorneies, Judgess and felons and provides its ain position on what the jurisprudence is and how it works. It is the media’s ability to ‘teach us about ‘the law’’ that has led legal bookmans to critically analyze the relationship between the media and the jurisprudence. The concern is that the media’s usage of sensationalized headlines non merely misinforms the populace by showing deformed images of legal world but besides undermines the public’s assurance in the legal system.

Media distorts legal world

On January 25, 2007, one of the BBC intelligence headlines read, ‘Risk of enduring offense ‘rises’ : The hazard of going a victim of offense in England and Wales is lifting for the first clip since 1995, figures suggest’ . Anyone reading this headline would automatically be under the feeling that, harmonizing to official figures, offense is on the rise and is a serious issue in England. The job with this headline and other newspaper studies about offense is that it does non accurately reflect the world of condemnable behavior.

Statistical grounds produced and gathered by the Home Office indicates that contrary to the BBC study, ‘violent offense has fallen or remained stable since 1995’ . Furthermore, any rises in offense can be attributed to procedural disparities originating from the figure of offenses reported and recorded by the constabulary in any peculiar twelvemonth. Although the text of the BBC article makes mention to these findings, observing that the addition in offense is still lower than the entire per centum recorded in 1995, this information is contained farther down in the text of the article.

Therefore, the big figure of readers who simply skim newspaper headlines will be misled into believing that the general degree of offense in England is increasing. This suggests that what the media chooses to concentrate on can give rise to public misconceptions about the condemnable justness system. The inquiry so is if the media has such a big impact on people’s perceptual experiences about the jurisprudence, so why do they take a firm stand on falsifying representations of offense?

Peoples by and large use their trim clip to prosecute in activities that are both loosen uping and merriment and that help them unwind from the emphasiss of mundane life. During these easy minutes, people by and large watch telecasting, listen to the wireless, surf the cyberspace, or read the newspaper.

In this manner, the media is frequently viewed as a interest, as both a beginning of amusement and a agency by which 1 is able to deflect oneself from the complexnesss of life. As McQuail provinces, ‘The media are frequently sought out exactly as an option to and an flight from reality’ .

What people seem to bury during their easy chases is that the media is still a concern, whose primary end is to sell the merchandise of amusement and information to its consumers. The media is capable to assorted market force per unit areas and as such its rule aim is to bring forth net incomes by utilizing a assortment of techniques to pull consumers. Since the media’s rule aim is to sell its merchandise, the media is non focused on stand foring a true form of what is traveling on in the universe.

As was seen with the BBC intelligence headline, the media use assorted selling tools such as sensationalized headlines to pull its audience. Events are merely reported in the media if they resonate with the populace and attract viewing audiences. As is noted by McQuail, “The simple fact that the mass media are by and large oriented to the involvement of their audiences as ‘consumers’ of information and amusement can easy account for most of the grounds of world distortion…’ .

A clear illustration of media deformation is the fact that the imperativeness merely concentrates on a little figure of condemnable offenses which include serious offenses such as slaying and sexual assault or famous person offenses. As is noted by Thornton, ‘The dramatic potency of condemnable judicial proceeding is overpoweringly preferable, in which everything is biased and distorted for dramatic consequence. Within the offense show genre itself, violent offenses are disproportionately over represented’ .

Although these types of instances affair, they frequently leave the spectator with misconceptions sing the general degree of offense. The recent British Crime Survey indicates that in 2006/2007 the entire figure of domestic burglary offenses reported by the constabulary was 292.3 thousand compared to the 19.2 1000 studies of offense that constitute serious force against the individual such as homicide or serious wounding.

Although the menace of being a victim of burglary is higher than that of homicide, the media tend to concentrate its studies on violent offenses because the earnestness of these types of offenses triggers an emotional response in the spectator thereby increasing media productiveness and net incomes. This type of aslant coverage leads the populace to grossly overrate the sum of serious violent offenses, in relation to all other offenses.

As Berlins notes in his talk, ‘I suppose what I’m stating is that the media, in its entirety, does – likely irreversibly – convey a deformed position of the province of offense and penalty, that therefore in bend, the populace, which takes much of its information every bit good as its attitudes from the media, holds ill-conceived positions on the subject’ . Therefore, while the media merely studies that which will give rise to public emotion, the populace, who view the media as a primary beginning of legal information, uses these studies to explicate their ain positions about the condemnable justness system.

The danger is that this type of coverage will gnaw the public’s assurance in the legal system. As Garapon notes, ‘by puting us under the legal power of the emotions, the media are in fact distancing us from the legal power of the law’ . Public assurance in the legal system and the bench is an of import issue. A deficiency of assurance in province establishments, and in peculiar the tribunal system, may take to a signifier of vigilante justness.

For case, when Sarah Payne, an eight-year old miss, was sexually assaulted and murdered, theNews of the World’syellow journalism made a supplication for the public indorsement of a jurisprudence that would let the public entree to a sex wrongdoer register. After the yellow journalism ran this study, vigilante groups began assailing the places of households they erroneously believed were paedophiles. Therefore, if the populace, through media portraitures, is under the feeling that violent offense is on the rise or that the tribunals and constabularies are non making plenty to maintain felons out of society, so they may try to take justness into their ain custodies.

A regular form across all research in this country suggests that the bulk of the populace does non hold assurance in the tribunals peculiarly in relation to condemning. Mike Hough and Julian Roberts conducted a survey on the condemning tendencies in Britain and found that ‘judgesreceived significantly more negative ratings than any othergroup of condemnable justness professionals. The public systematicallyunder-estimate the badness of condemning forms, and thisis significantly related to attitudes to sentencers’ .

This deficiency of assurance appears to emanate from a important deficiency of cognition about how the system works and the degrees of condemning. Since public sentiment about the legal system is influenced by media studies about offense, it would follow that the public’s ignorance about the bench and sentencing is well based on media representations which are mostly inaccurate. However, non all media portraitures of the jurisprudence are wholly baseless or inaccurate.

As Berlins notes, ‘I don’t want to give the feeling that most people get most of their information and sentiments from bad fiction on the television receiver. After all, telecasting besides gives us some really good, enlightening, sober documentaries’ . However, Berlins goes on to province that while there are accurately pictured representations of offense and justness in the media, viewing audiences tend to non be interested in these shows and they are normally ‘withdrawn because of their unpopularity’ .

The Media distorts the jurisprudence irrespective if they represent the facts or fictions

The issue so is whether the media is incapable of bring forthing legal narrations that are based on facts and non fiction. Recently, theL.A. Times, a prevailing American newspaper, released the narrative of Mychal Bell’s guilty supplication in the ‘Jena Six’ instance. In the ‘Jena Six’ instance, six black adolescents, including Mychal Bell, were accused of assailing Justin Baker, a white adolescent, at their senior high school in Jena, Louisiana.

The media claimed that the assault resulted from a racially-motivated incident at the senior high school, where three white pupils hung snares from a tree that black pupils were allegedly prohibited from sitting under. Mychal Bell was the lone member of the ‘Jena Six’ group who was charged with attempted slaying. Bell’s charges were later reduced and after pleading guilty to a second-degree battery charge he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The public viewed Bell’s prosecution as being ‘excessive and racially discriminatory’ peculiarly in comparing to the manner white wrongdoers were treated in similar offenses. TheL.A. Times’coverage of Bell’s guilty supplication sensationalized the issue of racism while at the same clip excluding relevant facts associating to Bell’s sentence. Although theL.A. Timesnarrative appears to put out the true facts of the narrative in relation to Bell’s sentence, they overlook the fact that Bell had a old felon record.

Previous strong beliefs on an wrongdoers record is considered an worsening factor that the tribunal will take into history when finding an appropriate sentence. Therefore, as one observer notes, theL.A. Times,in turn toing the issue of whether the sentence was inordinate and racially-motivated, should hold noted that information refering Bell’s old strong beliefs was a factor in the sentencing determination:

This is a narrative about whether a condemnable prosecution of immature black males for a violent offense was excessively rough. Any responsible narrative turn toing that subject would to the full depict the perpetrators’ condemnable histories – particularly histories of similar behaviour. This information is perfectly critical to measuring whether his intervention at the custodies of jurisprudence enforcement was unnecessarily rough – and by non adverting his priors, the paper implies to most rational readers that he has no condemnable history at all.

Assuming the purpose of theL.A. Timesstudy was merely to inform readers of recent developments in the ‘Jena Six’ instance, this illustration demonstrates that by concentrating on certain facts, at the exclusion of others, the media is able to make a fictional world which substantiates its ain headlong judgements. A local newsman in Jena, Louisiana, commented on the media’s coverage of ‘Jena Six’ and highlighted several myths reported by the media noting: ‘The media got most of the rudimentss incorrect. In fact, I have ne’er earlier witnessed such a shame in professional news media.

Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their grave responsibility to look into every claim because they were seduced by a strongly appealing but false narration of racial injustice’ . Among the figure of facts the media neglected to describe was that grounds given by both informants and suspects showed that the noose incident, which took topographic point three months prior to the assault of Justin Baker, was non merely a buffoonery against a group of white non black pupils, but was besides unrelated to the onslaught.

Therefore, the media, by picking which facts to describe and by pulling uncorroborated correlativities between assorted facts, have presented a deformed image of this instance. Although, the facts presented by the media in the Jena Six instance are in and of themselves true, the mode in which they are presented leads to a blurring of the line between fact and fiction.

It is for these grounds that the media is by and large charged with showing a ‘flawed and distorted version of the law’ . As Richard Nobles and David Schiff note, ‘the media misreads jurisprudence for its ain intents. This misreading has the capacity to bring forth what, within the media itself, are described as ‘crises of assurance in the disposal of justice’ .

Distinguishing between fact and fiction has become a hard undertaking for media consumers. Fictional events are going more realistic through assorted telecasting plans that dramatize the jurisprudence and the judicial system such as Ally McBeal and People’s Court ( UK ) . These telecasting shows impose a conceptual ‘reality’ that viewing audiences can place with.

How so is it possible for a spectator of these types of programmes to be able to separate between fact and fiction when the existent object of these shows is to supply neither? Harmonizing to J. Street, the differentiation between fact and fiction is non one that can be discerned by merely watching these shows but is instead a accomplishment that must be learned. The thought that the line between fact and fiction is going more and more hard to spot is non something that is recent or that has emerged with the debut of world Television.

The media has ever used assorted tools to enforce a certain sum of ‘fictionalization’ on ‘real’ issues. In add-on to utilizing sensationalized headlines and writhing facts by playing on words, the media besides uses metaphors as ‘an look of classs of reality’ . Metaphors are used in media offense coverage in order to show complex legal issues in a clear and straightforward mode that makes them more ‘real’ and easy for an audience to associate to.

Metaphors such as ‘justice is blind’ , ‘war on terror’ , ‘cold-blooded murderer’ , ‘lawyers are leeches’ and ‘if it doesn’t fit you must acquit’ are used by the media to stand for a peculiar angle on a legal narrative by associating that position to human experience. For illustration, the metaphor ‘lawyers are leeches’ will affect upon anyone who has had a negative experience with a attorney or who has had to pay an inordinate sum for legal representation.

The media is able, through the usage of these metaphors to paint a certain image for the spectator that they are able to link with because the ‘values and emotions’ attached to these metaphors resonate with the mundane. As Brown notes, ‘What gives such metaphors their resonance is non really their ‘distortion’ of world ; it is their propinquity to experience’ . Metaphors, nevertheless, can besides falsify representations of the truth in offense coverage. For illustration, the metaphor ‘justice is blind’ is used to mean the fact that the bench is an impartial and independent organic structure whose occupation is to use the jurisprudence every bit and reasonably to all individuals irrespective of category, race or gender.

However, what is lost in this metaphor is that justness is non ever adversarial and can be achieved through alternate methods to challenge declaration such as mediation and dialogue. Nevertheless, even if the media generates a fictional narrative, by utilizing metaphors ‘taken from the existent world’ the media is able to link with the populace. As a consequence, metaphors do non needfully hold to be accurate in order for the media to be able to unify with the populace through common experience.

Another manner the media is able to link with the populace in circulating information about the jurisprudence is by turning ‘readers or viewing audiences into Judgess, supplying them with all the stuff necessary for them to do the judgements themselves’ . The facts, legal issues and judgements environing court-room type shows are introduced to the spectator as the media sees it and as such, there is no room for mediation, statement or argument.

The media test is presented in a story-like manner – like any good novelist, the media seamsters the sequence of events and uses characters, imagination, and symbolism to steer its viewing audiences into making a pre-determined judgement. By puting the phase and using assorted theatrical tools, the media falsely leads its viewing audiences into believing that the result of the media test corresponds with their ain sentiments about the jurisprudence and justness. Although the media is able to supply instantaneous justness, by compacting the complexnesss of a legal proceeding into a 30 minute cartridge holder, the media ignores the fact that ‘a test is an highly complex and sophisticated device’ and that merely and just determinations are reached merely through careful consideration ofallthe facts, grounds and testimony.

Therefore, media tests have the ability to sabotage the function of the bench and the public’s religion in the legal system, by affecting upon its viewing audiences the belief that justness is easy ascertained without deliberation. Garapon elaborates on this point saying, ‘The test is able to command the manner in which the facts are presented, proved and interpreted. On the telecasting, nevertheless, a ‘construction of reality’ is inexplicit and therefore straight experienced – and therefore get away both scrutiny and discussion’ . Hence, as Garapon farther notes in ‘preferring seduction to conclude argument’ , the media are able to expose a version of the truth ‘at the disbursal of truth itself’ .

Although the media’s chief function is to entertain, the media is viewed by the populace as a major distributer of legal information. Since the media uses assorted dramatic techniques to associate information sing the jurisprudence to its viewing audiences, the populace is by and large incognizant that the media merely has no respect for whether or non the information they are relaying is true or accurate. It is in this manner that the differentiation between fact and fiction becomes harder for the populace to spot. The public adopts the media’s construct of legal world and as a consequence views the jurisprudence in a negative visible radiation and loses assurance in the condemnable justness system. This is non to propose that all media content is based on false premises or inaccurate facts, but more frequently so non histories of the jurisprudence are mistakes of the truth.

Is there a valid ground for concern over deformed media portraitures of the jurisprudence?

All research in regard of the consequence media has on popular constructs of the jurisprudence suggests that media portraitures of the jurisprudence, whether they are based on fact or fiction, show a deformed version of legal world. As celebrated earlier, the media’s power to falsify the jurisprudence and present fictions as legal truths causes anxiousness in the legal community. Again, the concern is that media deceits about the jurisprudence may destruct the public’s religion in the legal system.

The disposal of justness and the independency of the bench are of import values that safeguard the cardinal rights of every person in society. Without these rules, justness, equity and equality would discontinue to be and society would return back to a province of war where everyone fends for themselves. The media, as the voice of public sentiment, ought to be troubled by the function they play and the influence they have in sabotaging the public’s assurance in the legal system. This is peculiarly so when analyzing the media’s power over the populace from an effects-based attack.

The effects theoretical account suggests that media users are like sponges in that they merely absorb media content without any contemplation or analysis. This is confusing given that some research workers have suggested that information from the media and other beginnings are absorbed into the head and filed into ‘bins’ and that when doing ‘heuristic judgments’ , people extract the information from these bins and ‘often fail to see that the information extracted could be from fabricated sources’ .

Based on this attack, persons who have non learned to decode between fact and fiction, are in danger of explicating erroneous beliefs about the jurisprudence that are based on stereotypes, half-truths and cliches.

On the other manus, it can be argued that because viewing audiences and readers are by and large ‘media-savvy’ they are aware of the media’s power to misdirect and as such do non trust on media generated content about the jurisprudence when doing value judgements about the legal system. As Lieve Gies notes, ‘Most persons are sufficiently ‘media-savvy’ to be cognizant that newspapers and telecasting can non ever be regarded as the most dependable or important beginnings of cognition.

Peoples are capable of observing the media’s misrepresentations and deformations, which means that they are non prepared to set all their eggs in the media’s basket’ . Therefore, alternatively of ‘simply absorbing the televised message like a sponge’ , viewing audiences and readers are able to ‘decode’ media communications and attach wholly new and different significances to the media text. The thought that media users are capable of size uping media content and are actively engaged in the building of their ain world is based on the active audience attack to understanding media effects on the jurisprudence.

Harmonizing to the active audience attack, media users are non simply cultural ‘dopes’ who submit to the media’s power without contemplation and scrutiny. A concern raised by advocators of the active audience attack is that media effects surveies overlook the fact that audiences are able to keep their ain independency and positions when prosecuting the media. Alternatively, research in this country by and large starts from the given that ‘the media is to blame’ .

As is noted by David Gauntlett, ‘The job with much media effects research, nevertheless, is that research workers have jumped straight to the 2nd phase – look intoing the media and its possible ‘effects’ – without even trouble oneselfing with the first one, viz. look intoing whether any noteworthy suspects have in fact been affected’ .

Stuart Hall’s analysis of the media farther suggests that any content received by viewing audiences and readers through assorted media signifiers is hollow and meaningless until the spectator or reader ‘deciphers the text and assigns intending to it’ . Hall’s response analysis theoretical account suggests that readers and viewing audiences consciously refuse to give into media influences and alternatively attach their ain set of values to the information being conveyed through media texts.

However, as Gies points out, ‘The possible blind topographic point in response analysis is that it may still stop up giving the media excessively much preponderance and disregard other influential beginnings of knowledge’ . Nevertheless, the push of the statement in both the active audience attack and the response analysis theoretical account is that the media’s powers to determine one’s apprehension of the jurisprudence will change depending on the significance that one attaches to media messages which is dependent on one’s cultural position – one’s category, race and gender.

As is noted by Gies, ‘In constructionist analyses of media civilization, it is the socio-cultural background of people, and non the media merchandises they consume, which is seen as a more dependable forecaster of how they construct societal meaning’ . For case, in Canada, the bulk of the images presented on the telecasting depict a Western construct of world. Since Canada is an ethically and culturally diverse state there are many citizens who have differing cultural positions and individualities. It is hence hard for these groups of citizens to associate to the Westernized positions that dominate media coverage in Canada. It is likely so, that their judgements about the legal system will be based on their ain alone cultural positions which are independent of the media’s perceptual experience of the jurisprudence.

As Gies provinces, ‘What people see or hear on telecasting has to associate to their ain experiences in order to be relevant as a resource for doing sense of law’ . This illustration suggests that non all cognition about the jurisprudence is derived entirely from the media. One manner to analyze the function of the media in act uponing perceptual experiences about the jurisprudence is to carry on a media diary exercising. The exercising is aimed at finding whether people’s positions about the jurisprudence are chiefly shaped by the media, histories by other people or by direct personal experience.

As a recent participant in this survey, it became clear that even though people are exposed to a assortment of media texts on a day-to-day footing, people’s positions on the jurisprudence are predominately shaped by their ain direct personal experiences. These findings challenged my initial outlooks about the media’s influence and power to rule my ain sentiments about the jurisprudence. I had originally assumed that the media was my dominant, if non merely, beginning of cognition and information about the universe.

However, despite the fact that I consume a assortment of media texts, the bulk of my sentiments refering the legal system were derived from my ain personal brushs with the jurisprudence, followed by treatments with household and friends and in conclusion from the media. Therefore, as Gies notes, ‘What needs to be challenged is the thought that, by and large talking, people lack sufficient firsthand experience of jurisprudence, doing them alternatively wholly dependent on the media’ .

A survey conducted by Salzmann and Dunwoody on jurisprudence pupil perceptual experiences about attorneies prior to come ining jurisprudence school, substantiates the position that the media is non the lone agencies by which people obtain cognition about the jurisprudence. Salzmann and Dunwoody found that while jurisprudence pupils hold preconceived positions about attorneies based on media portraitures of the jurisprudence, the pupils did non believe that media representations about lawyering were accurate or true: ‘In kernel they demonstrated that there was a difference between what attorneies on screed did, as opposed to what attorneies in existent life did.

They went on to set up that jurisprudence pupils, however, did non presume that existent attorneies truly did all the exciting things that Television attorneies did’ . What truly affairs so is whether or non media users understand that what they watch on the telecasting or what they read in the newspapers is non needfully a true contemplation of the existent universe. All these surveies demonstrate that there is a differentiation between information and cognition.

As Nobles and Schiff point out, ‘Individuals can merely have information when they are able to unite what they are told with what they already know’ . Therefore, whether or non people use the information in media texts to explicate sentiments about the jurisprudence will by and large depend on their anterior cognition of the legal system.

The jurisprudence itself is guilty of puting excessively much accent on the media’s power to pervert public perceptual experiences of the legal system. As celebrated earlier, the Torahs opposition to the media stems chiefly from the fright that the media has the power to ‘corrode the liberty and authorization of the law’ . I would propose that this concern is overstated and indefensible given the fact that attorneies like the media are besides narrators and use assorted techniques to arouse an emotional response from the jury and to convey a peculiar point of position.

During a test, the function of advocate is to show a version of the facts in an redolent manner so as to carry the jury and the justice that their version of the narrative is true. If attorneies have faith that the jury/public will be able to spot the truth from the narratives which are presented to them so who is to state that viewing audiences aren’t besides every bit capable of decoding fact from fiction when receiving messages about the jurisprudence from the media.

By systematically concentrating on the negative effects the media has on popular constructs of the jurisprudence, media research systematically overlooks the ‘pro-social effects’ of the media. The media retains value through its part to societal life, political relations and the legal procedure. The media is a cardinal participant in doing certain that the legal system is in balance by brining of import and controversial issues to the public’s attending in order to advance treatment and argument. As Gies explains, ‘the media have the potency to raise a positive consciousness, by supplying a much-needed political model within which people can do sense of their personal experiences of the law’


Books and Articles from Course Study Pack

Asimow, Michael, Greenfield, Steve, Jorge, Guillermo, Machura, Stefan, Osborn, Guy, Robson, Peter, Sharp, Cassandra & A ; Sockloskie, Robert. ‘Perceptions of attorneies – a multinational survey of pupil positions on the image of jurisprudence and lawyers’ ,International Journal of the Legal Profession( 12 ( 3 ) Taylor & A ; Francis, United Kingdom 2005 ) .

German capitals, Marcel. ‘Lies, Media and Justice: Falsifying the Criminal Justice System’ , ( Birmingham University, School of Law ) ( 5 February 2004 ) .

Brown, Sheila.Crime and Law in Media Culture,( Open University Press, Buckingham 2003 ) .

Deveraux, E.Understanding the Media( Sage, London 2003 ) .

Garapon, Antoine. ‘Justice out of Court: The Dangers of Trial by Media’ , in D. Nelken ( ed. )Law as Communication( Aldershot, Dartmouth 1996 ) , pp.231-245.

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Additional Outside Sources

Felski, Rita. ‘The Invention of Everyday Life’ ,New Formations39 ( 1999 ) .

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Internet Beginnings

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