Media Trials means that the media creates such a frenzy which gives rise to the widespread perception of the defendant’s guilt of a criminal offense because of the sensation caused by the media by releasing prejudiced content much before the evidence is heard. This results in the due process giving way to moral speculation apart from the outcome of the court and in which the general public arrives at a verdict as a matter of public opinion. Because of this, conflicts arise between the media’s privilege to report on the judicial process via their rights to express their opinions freely.
These rights are impinged upon when pre-trial publicity (PTP) compromises upon the holding of a fair trial and instead initiates a trial by the media. For the proper administration of justice, the guilt or innocence of the defendant should be determined in the courtroom through a due process of law and not through the media where selected items are released for creating a sensation. The lives of a large amount of the population of any country revolve around media coverage of events. Amongst the media programs that the general public viewed, nearly two-thirds of the programs depict some form of violence, which has a great influence on the public’s perception of society.
According to, the increase in the support for the death penalty has occurred because of the increased involvement of the media in murder cases. The two major aspects by which the media has affected the criminal justice system is by giving encouragement and support to the death penalty by developing a fear of crime in the population and it has also prejudiced the decisions of jurors about the defendants and other individuals involved in the case either through pre-media trial or preceding media story telling.. This sensationalism has also changed the court system because the impact of the media become apparent in the sentencing of the defendant and for the lawyers involved in the case, the media may discover loopholes either in the prosecution or the defense.
Courts have developed prevention methods for dealing with the probable influence of publicity which includes reprimands from judges, giving additional time for lawyers to obtain more evidence, appropriation, changing the location of the trial and replacing the jurors. The biggest problem for the defendant is just that: he/she is a defendant with limited resources while the public prosecutor has all the resources of the government behind him/her. With a prejudiced media, the defendant faces major disadvantages in being pre-judged before the defendant gets fair changes to present his/her defense.