Role of Media in Making Public Policy on Indias Criminal Justice System: A Study of News Reporting on Actor Salman Khans Acquittal in A Murder Case
It is widely assumed that media's role in a democratic polity is to provide transparency and accountability, and to raise the public awareness and to facilitate a forum for public discussion. Earlier studies have confirmed that the media can effectively set the public agenda by consistently featuring issues in news coverage. Media coverage of crime helps to set the agenda for the criminal justice system and reinforce support for punitive policies. On December 10, 2015, Bombay High Court dismissed a trial court's conviction and acquitted popular Bollywood Actor Salman Khan of all charges in a 13 year long case related to his drunken drive over the people sleeping on a pavement, on the night of 28 September 2002 that resulted in killing of one person and injuring four others. Using the framework of agenda setting, the study analyses the news stories published in mass circulated Tamil and English Language newspapers on the reportage of this judgement. The study discusses the discourse of Tamil and English Language newspapers on this judgement and its contribution towards the making of public policy on criminal justice system in India.