The media plays an important role in holding the State to account, yet media reporting on crime and punishment must also be held to account. While the media ostensibly acts in the public interest, often it is driven more by what the public is interested in. For example, murder accounts for less than 0.009% of recorded crime, yet makes up over 15.8% of crime reportage. Public interest is not served by reportage that heightens disproportionate fear, or that interrupts positive reintegration programmes by reporting on named individual prisoners accessing temporary release. Post-release media reporting can severely hamper an individual’s prospects of reintegration. It is important that the privacy rights of the individual and his/her family is respected at all stages of the criminal justice system, and that the media are held to account when privacy rights are breached.
See News Values identified in: Galtung, J. and Ruge, M. H. (1965), ‘The structure of foreign news: The presentation of the Congo, Cuba and Cyprus crises in four Norwegian newspapers’, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, pp. 64-90.
Press Council of Ireland (2008), ‘Address by Professor John Horgan at Public Forum on Crime and Media, https://www.presscouncil.ie/address-by-professor-john-horgan-at-public-forum-on-crime-and-media-april-2008.