Example Of Essay On How Important Is The Media In The Investigation Of Serious Crime?
For many people the media has long been one of the main sources of information about life of the state and its laws. On the basis of their messages, citizens compose the vision about the level of crime, its nature and prevalence in society, the struggle of the state, its institutions for fight against crime. Today, the media plays a crucial role in society. It provides the necessary information, serves as a tool of reflecting views of members of the public. In addition, it is an indicator of the level of freedom in exchange of opinions, evaluations in phenomena that are taking place. Finally, it gives citizens the opportunity to criticize the shortcomings existing in society, including the activities of the state apparatus and senior management.
Crime is the most important category of criminal law. All other concepts and categories of criminal law are related to it. The science of criminal law considers a crime not as an abstract category fixed once and for all, not depending on anything, but as a real social category closely associated with other causes of its emergence and existence of social phenomena (Dowler, Fleming and Muzzatti, 2006). Considering the crime in this way, the science of criminal law establishes that the offense is historically volatile category, which has not always existed, but developed at a certain stage of human development: with a social division of labor, formation of private ownership, division of society into classes with the advent of state and law.
Crime is recognized as a person's behavior that causes substantial harm and violates the social relations in the state. In the era of primitive society, when there was no state and law, there was no concept of crime and punishment. If there occurred some actions harmful for race, tribe, or an individual, it was fought through the use of coercive measures emanating from such kind of tribal banishment from the clan of the tribe depriving of water. The concept of crime and its content developed with the change of socio-economic formations, but its social essence determined by a public danger to the existing social relations protected by the criminal law remained unchanged.
A number of essential characteristics characterizes crime: the law classifies it as a socially dangerous act, its wrongfulness, guilt and punishment (Pfeiffer, Windzio and Kleimann, 2005). Only the presence of such features in combination characterizes the offense as a crime. The main feature of crime is its public danger. This is an objective property of a criminal act (action and inaction) to actually cause substantial harm to legally protected social benefits or contain real possibility of such harm. Public danger is the main and feature of the crime, because this feature is the basis for criminalization and is the criterion for inclusion in the category of acts of criminal offenses. If the act does not contain a significant degree of public danger, it cannot be regarded as a crime. The degree of socially dangerous acts of crimes is much higher than in the commission of such administrative offenses.
A higher degree of public danger expresses such indication as causing or creating the possibility of causing significant harm to legally protected objects. Substantial harm, or in other words, the danger to the public is expressly stated in the characterization of certain crimes. The social nature of crime lies in its public danger to legally protected interests of the criminal law (objects).
Public danger of crime is conditioned by the fact that such acts cause significant harm or threaten harm to the most important objects of criminal law protection: the personality, its rights and freedoms, law and order and security of society and property environment. Criminal law in the public danger allocates quality (the nature of public danger) and quantitative (degree of public danger) side. Public danger is determined by all the signs of the crime: the object of the crime, criminal consequences, modus operandi form, kind of guilt and motive to commit the crime, situation and place of its commission.
However, to assess the role of the media in society only through their ability to redistribute information and to provide description of the state of affairs in society is not enough. One cannot ignore the role of the media in influencing the minds of people perceiving information. This effect can be both positive and negative. If the positive effects of media on perceiving people is welcomed in society, the possible negative effects should always be taken into account by their distributors. Before redistributing the information adversely affecting members of the public consciousness, it is necessary to know whether they want to cause such effects (Jewkes, 2010). People often consider the negative effects of media appearances to be much stronger than the direct corrupting influence of organized crime.
Media influences its audience primarily by critical coverage of the existing shortcomings in society. However, this criticism should be first of all true, to ensure which the media agency should check reliability of the information received. Second, it should be objective, since the media authority has no right to demonstrate its subjective attitude to information, whatever unpleasant it were for the media itself. It is necessary not to strengthen it by artificial means (Greer, 2009). Third, the media authority should take into account the possibility of reverse impact of statement of the facts, that is, cases when that information can be used as a lesson for the criminal element.
No less important is the media dissemination of positive examples of actions of society members. Showing both negative and positive examples of life is a positive lesson for citizens. Authoritarian regime has created a specific mass of justice, according to which legal norms, especially in the sphere of economic life, represent a kind of abstraction, their violation is not something reprehensible. Accordingly, criminal organizations operating in the sphere of economics, find for themselves a mass social base, which contributes to their sprawl through all the pores of economic life.
Shadow financial capital attracted to its side a considerable force of the bureaucracy, criminal structures to create a cohesive, organized criminal groups able to identify and manage a significant part of the social processes in the country. To some extent, to support their criminal actions have been widely used media.
The need for cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the media is determined by the fact that it is a means of optimizing the activities of each of these structures (Durnal, 2010). For the media, it is an opportunity to improve public awareness on the fight against crime (including provision of the necessary openness of law enforcement agency) and to form legal consciousness of the population. For law enforcement, it is a way to get help from the public in solving their problems and is a means of expanding sources of information needed to perform their functions.
The close relationship between the magistrate and everyday media is their common problem (Newburn, Williamson, and Wright, 2012). The first fights against crime and what is inextricably linked to it, what it generates. Everyday media primarily pursues the same goal. Interaction of law enforcement agencies with the media allows them to work more effectively and efficiently use their own intellectual and material resources; optimize decision investigative and operational-search tasks; improve the effectiveness of procedural investigative and preventive measures; generate adequate public opinion on the work of law enforcement agencies.
Cooperation between law enforcement and the media is referred to by different terms: interaction, the use of means of mass media, media use, participating media, etc. Each of these terms are different in content and scope of aspects of such cooperation: interaction is mutually beneficial cooperation, the use of the media is basically capitalizing without mutual return, participation does not specify the form of cooperation, etc. To determine the relationship of mass media and law enforcement agencies, it is better to use the term interaction as characterizing the joint activity of mutual interest in its results, but for the subject of this relationship - law enforcement agencies - the determining factor is the use of media opportunities.
Interaction is a harmonization of activities by objectives, when each participant performs what exactly can be done by him/her most professionally, i.e. directed at the rationality and quality of interventions. Under the interaction of law enforcement and the media, there is understood the permanent objectively existing relationships between them conditioned by the overall objectives and achieved in the process of mutual influence and mutual opportunities of these systems to achieve both general and their own goals.
This interaction is considered as a potential opportunity for self-improvement and self-development of the law enforcement system. In particular, it allows to save power and money in the work organization on the detection and investigation of crimes; to provide the breadth and timeliness of information impact on the population; to search for criminals on virtually unrestricted area; to create an environment conducive to law enforcement, etc.
This interaction is characterized not only by cooperation to achieve common goals, but also by the fight arising in the process of solving specific local problems, such as the difference in the estimates of individual facts and results of operations. If journalists wish to receive information that law enforcement officers find impossible to tell (Greer, 2007).
The need for law enforcement cooperation with the media is determined not only by the fact that they are able to more effectively solve their problems, but also by avoiding biased and erroneous lighting by journalists of various issues and events. The latter may occur as with failure to inform the media and because of lack of professionalism of individual journalists and direct order fulfillment by criminal structures.
The main areas of law enforcement cooperation with the media include: formation of public opinion on the fight against crime; deepening of legal awareness; information on the activities of law enforcement agencies; ensuring the disclosure and investigation of crimes; prevention of offenses.
The content and form of implementation of each of these areas of cooperation have changed significantly as a result of changes in the socio-psychological climate in the society, life values related to an event, etc. So if earlier there were large grounds and opportunities to appeal to the sense of civic duty of social solidarity, now these factors have virtually no effect and must appeal to the desire to protect security of their property and be rewarded for assisting law enforcement agencies, etc.
Interaction with the media on issues of disclosure and investigation of crimes include: informing the public about the crimes committed; prevention and denial of rumors and misinformation; obtaining information about the circumstances of crimes under investigation; using the help of citizens in search of criminals. There is also posting a preventive measure on the methods and ways of the perpetrators; criminals’ misinformation regarding the plans and capabilities of the law enforcement bodies; introduction of disorder and uncertainty in the criminal environment to decompose criminal groups; creation of favorable conditions for the solution of other investigative and operational tasks.
Informing the public about the crimes committed, the state of crime in general and measures to combat it is on the one hand the implementation of citizens 'right to gaining information about what is happening in society (including the fact to know how and on what there are spent the taxpayers' money). On the other hand, it is the need to create conditions for law enforcement agencies to ensure a favorable environment for interaction with the public and the media to make them feel that they have been remembered not only when they are absolutely necessary.
When informing the public on legal issues, it must be remembered that the legal information is not neutral: it is either helpful or harmful. Therefore, each case of the promulgation of legal material must be preceded by a clear understanding of purpose of the pursued publication. With this comparison of the value obtained at achieving this goal, results with possible negative consequences of publications should determine the question of expediency in this case referring to the media. Any publication (treatment) may cause irritation of interest, misunderstanding, confusion, etc. Therefore, in the preparation of the information, it is important to remember not only about its presentation, but also about what kind of reaction it can cause on the part of the population. Moreover, the negative effects can be expressed not only in the non-perception of information filed, but also in the opposite reaction to it: intended to prevent or deny the rumors - because of poor feed strengthened their authenticity; trying to secure a conviction of specific actions and deeds - have reverse, etc.
When interacting with the media, it is necessary to take into account not only the marked possibilities of negative consequences, but also features of activity and specificity of tasks by various law enforcement agencies. So "sensational" revelations of deputies and corrupt officials without subsequent completion of the facts by published information on convictions engender confidence in the impunity of those persons.
Preventive purpose of publishing materials in the media cannot be solved by single publications, as here there is needed systematic and consistent account of the psychology of perception of the audience. For example, the effectiveness of information about crimes in the tax area will be determined not by sensationalism materials, but rather the specificity of what we as a result (in uncollected budget) lost - how many doctors or teachers do not receive a salary, what lose children in orphanages, etc.
The process of effective detection, investigation and prevention of crime depends on the timely receipt by the investigator of information about the circumstances of the crime and its participants. Formation of this information starts with the commission of a crime and continues during the preliminary investigation and trial, which evaluates it in their entirety in determining the crime, the degree of guilt of the defendant and the sentence imposed. In criminology, the information is called forensically significant, i.e., plays an important role in establishing the circumstances, subject to proof.
In its significance for the detection, investigation and prevention of crime, information can be considered probative or landmark. Its potential value is determined based on the fact of its possible demand by a body of inquiry, the investigator, and the court. Information relating to the circumstances of the crime has the potential probative value or potentially orienting until it is needed by the investigator or the court (Chadee and Ditton, 2005). Such an approach to the understanding of its role suggests the need for in-depth scientific and theoretical study of not only the mechanism of its formation, but also the timely receipt of law enforcement agencies.
Forensically important information is based on the actual data in a causal connection with a crime. Its external manifestation is expressed in the form of material and ideal traces of the crime. Their including may be contained in information provided by the media. Members of the media, fixing any event, having signs of a crime, do not specify this information as forensically significant. Often, however, it was it that brought in the investigation process previously unknown facts. Their investigator checking helps to establish the different circumstances of the criminal case. This is facilitated by the constant, objectively existing relationship between the police and the media, due to the overall objectives achieved in the process of mutual influence and mutual use of the possibilities of these systems.
Relevant to the preliminary investigation is the role of media in shaping forensically relevant information was already noted by the founder of forensic science Hans Gross, who pointed to the positive role of the media in the search for witnesses, owners of well-known things, to clarify the circumstances of the crime. Such an approach to the understanding of the goals and objectives of the media in law enforcement predetermined value in their search activity.
In addition, the role of media in search activity is expressed in the provision of assistance to law enforcement agencies in areas such as the identification and tracing of persons suspected of committing a crime; detention of persons who are wanted; identification of individuals (victims and witnesses); crime prevention; eliminating the causes and conditions that contributed to the commission of the offense; education of citizens in a spirit of respect for the law and justice. At the same time, other areas of the media that promote disclosure, investigation and prevention of crime has not yet been widely covered in the literature, making the continuation of current scientific and theoretical research in this area.
Chadee, D., and Ditton, J., 2005. Fear of crime and the media: Assessing the lack of relationship. Crime, Media, Culture, 1(3), pp.322-332.
Dowler, K., Fleming, T., and Muzzatti, S. L., 2006. Constructing crime: Media, crime, and popular culture. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice/La Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale, 48(6), pp.837-850.
Durnal, E. W., 2010. Crime scene investigation (as seen on TV). Forensic science international, 199(1), pp.1-5.
Greer, C., 2007. News media, victims and crime. Victims, crime and society, pp.20-49.
Greer, C., 2009. Crime and media: understanding the connections. Criminology, 2, pp.177-203.
Jewkes, Y., 2010. Media & crime. Sage.
Newburn, T., Williamson, T., and Wright, A., 2012. Handbook of criminal investigation. Routledge.
Pfeiffer, C., Windzio, M., and Kleimann, M., 2005. Media use and its impacts on crime perception, sentencing attitudes and crime policy. European journal of criminology, 2(3), pp.259-285.
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