What Role Do The Media Play

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The term media encompasses a variety of sources; newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and nowadays the internet. These sources ultimately have some influence over the readers of such sources- the public. The content of such sources includes the criminal justice system, which in turn covers the police, the courts, the prison service, and the probation service and so on. The question “What role do the media play in shaping the public’s view of the criminal justice system?” implies that the media shape the public’s view of the criminal justice system. The role therefore may take an array of forms; it may be informative and therefore objective or it could be subjective descriptions of incidents involving the criminal justice system. In order for the media to shape the public’s view of the criminal justice system, then the view that members of the public passively believe what they read must be taken, rather than the view that the readers/viewers of the media interpret what they see or read. In order to answer the above question, the following issue needs to be understood; what do the public refer to in terms of the criminal justice system? For historic purposes the criminal justice system is ‘relatively recent’, for example it was only in 1994 that the first criminal justice text book was introduced. This holds certain implications then, such as that the public are unsure as to what the criminal justice system consists of. The words criminal justices suggest that some sort of justice is brought about those who commit criminal acts. Ultimately the police may be seen as responsible for this, and therefore in the eyes of the public the police may be the criminal justice system alone. Therefore any media published on the police has the potential to shape the public’s view of the criminal justice system. If the public were asked their view of the criminal justice
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