Trial by Media: Media's Impacts on the Right to a Fair Trial

Hailey Aldrich, Dennis Charsky, Strategic Communications Department, Ithaca College 953 Danby Rd, Ithaca New York, 14850.

What role does the media play in our legal system today? How does its impact on public opinion effect court rulings, our nation’s understanding of and trust in the legal system, and a citizen’s right to a fair and speedy trial? The phrase “trial by media” is used to describe the media’s ability to influence public opinion and create widespread perceptions of guilt or innocence for individuals before, during, and after a verdict has been reached in court. Media’s informational power gives it the ability to uphold and support democratic principles such as the right to a fair and speedy trial as stated in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It also has the power to turn the legal court and the court of public opinion against one another to create unrest. This paper will discuss the ways in which the media helps and hurts the legal system. Additionally, it will examine the role the media played in the ultimate decision of certain high-profile cases. After examining how different forms of media impact public opinion and the different ways law and news media interact, it is concluded that media, as it currently exists, threatens the rights of a defendant to a fair trial. After synthesizing interviews with legal and educational professionals, recommendations will be given to determine how the media can be used as a tool of objectivity and protect the principles of American democracy. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Hailey Aldrich

Institution: Ithaca College

Type: Poster

Subject: Law & Legal Studies

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5539