Sometime ago, one of my colleagues explained the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. Nothing exemplifies that better than what is happening right now, on our electronic media, right in front of the bean-bags in my living room.
Few months ago, a
Now with the Priyadarshini Mattoo’s case closed, and the fast-track cases being flavor of the day, Jessica Lall’s case is being reopened. From my perspective, great - finally someone is waking up. And then the madness has started – perpetuated by the TV channels, which seem to whip up some kind of popular opinion. Somehow, the news channels – both NDTV and CNN-IBN seem to have believe that the judgment should be obvious, signed, sealed and deliver Manu to the hangman. Then, ofcourse, follow up with one-hour program of whether Capital Punishment should go or stay; and bask in Two-minute-packaged-noodle-type problem-solution within “We the people” and “the Verdict”.
But suddenly things did not seem to go per their script. They did not seem to foresee the "problem" of Ram Jethmalini jumping into the fray to defend the accused. This is where their behaviour bordered on stupidity to complete prejudice. The way Ms.Sagarika Ghosh was questioning (a belligerent) Ram Jethmalini, insulted the average man’s intelligence of judicial system. I still cannot understand what her problem was – was it that Manu Sharma should be pronounced guilty without a trial? Was it that a lawyer-of-repute was defending the accused? Were they scared about RJ's reputation as a lawyer that they did not want to see him the court and the possibility that he could actually win the case for his client? By badgering RJ, did SG believe that they want to obviate the need for trial – was she implying that the judicial trials were immaterial and irrelevant ?
As I was watching the program, I was thinking – hello!!! What is your issue here? As you ask everyone to have trust in the media, do also propagate the value of trust in the judiciary too. If Manu is indeed guilty and there is unimpeachable evidence around that, the courts would definitely do their jobs. The belief here is, as media is important, so is the judicial system. Believing that their (Media's) integrity is few notches above that of Judiciary is megalomaniacal and egoistical. If the evidence is flimsy and the investigation was botched up, focus on that; so that, it could be corrected.
Trying to circumvent the system is not on. I trust the system to be strong and solid enough to withstand the intelligence of Jethmalini, eventually. Assuming anything else or assuming oneself to be the sole upholder of justice is going back to the vigilante system of justice and at best, benevolent dictatorship. At some point in time, these channels' value to this case will cease to a point of zero utility. In my own mind, I believe the media is losing out on a supporter. Hearing about the acquittal in February, I wrote the following:
Now I'm writing about the law of diminishing returns. Soon, the Media would be doing more damage to the case than help. It would be that of vanished returns.