This essay aims at showing the necessary but dangerous interactivity existing between media and legal institutions: each of them need to be independent but in the same time they both need each other. The following pages will answer the subsequent problem: can legal institutions resist the media pressure to keep their necessary independence in order to preserve law authority? Using some author's opinions, this essay will try to explain how the independence or justice is threatened by media which take more and more room in popular culture and everyday life, using sometimes law as a mean to make money shaping it in the most entertaining and most of the time wrong way. The importance of media and justice's independence has to be mentioned as a fundamental criterion that is needed for democracy, which is why the interactivity between both can sometimes be dangerous. We will conclude saying that there is a necessity for both to be in ‘speaking term ', each of them being useful in a way to the other one.
Thus, through this essay we will be able to understand the important issues that this particular connection involves. These issues have never been so contemporary, mass media exploiting law as they have never done through history.
[...] Montesquieu, De l'esprit des lois, Livre XI. Kirby, M. (1998) ‘Attacks on judges: a universal phenomenon', judicature 81 238-243. Lord Justice Judge, keynote speech for journalists' conference November 2004. Garapon, A. (1996) ‘Justice out of court: the danger of trial by media', in D.Nelken (ed.) Law and communication. R.V. Ericson, Law is like news', in D. Nelken Law as communication (Aldershot, 1996) in Nobles, R and Schiff, D (2000) Understanding miscarriages of justice: Law, the Media, and the Inevitability of Crisis. [...]
[...] The relationship of justice with media has been evaluating in the recent years. As a Lord Chancellor in 1955, lord Kilmuir had set some rules (the Kilmuir rules) which were preserving the independence of justice from media in a simple and efficient way: judges were not allowed to appear in media and to give their opinions about the cases they were in charge. With the evolution and the development of media, the situation has evolved and in 1987 Lord Mac Kay gave the right to judges to decide by themselves to communicate or not with media, avoiding in the same time any declarations involving public statements personal right to free speech is not absolute”).This new rule has driven to the known problem, with more and more pressure on judges and inaccurate reports tended to be repeated again and again, damaging extremely the public confidence in the legal system. [...]
[...] Hence, the frequent report of law cases by the press, the television or the radio are sometimes not exact, distorting the functioning of legal institutions. This is more precisely the case for sentencing where the misreadings are common. In this context this essay has tried to examine the way legal institutions can withstand this pressure. Thus, being independent institutions, media and justice need to preserve this state in a certain extent: it has to help them to reach their own aim being useful to the other in the same time. [...]
[...] Indeed, thinking further than the differences of their own functions, it is interesting to notice that they both aim at imposing order in morality, procedure, hierarchy and security, being concerned with truth and objectivity. Furthermore they are still both concerned through their independence in maintaining democracy: with legislature and executive they are third and the fourth power', each of them owning a role in impeaching the government or the parliament to abuse their power. Indeed, media as investigators let important cases to be known from the justice and the public to be aware of the abuses while courts have a judging and corrective role. [...]
[...] On the other hand, the strong influence of the legal system on the media is helping to keep a balance and working together keeping their own independence they can achieve to preserve the law authority for the community's sake. Bibliography Sherwin, R.K. (2000). When Law Goes Pop: the vanishing lines between law and popular culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (chapter 2). Lord Woolf, ‘Should the media and the judiciary be on speaking terms?' Eighth RTE/UCD Law faculty lecture, Dublin October 2003. [...]
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