The role of mass media in investigation

Mass Media

For any new burning topic that comes into the light, we in majority cases, get the first-hand knowledge from any of the forms of Mass Media. Sources like newspapers, magazines and the internet contain information about almost every other happening on the globe. The interaction of media and the justice system has had a great impact on the overall justice delivery system. Reports published on these media devices leads to clues which form pieces of information that forms the basis of any investigation. Therefore, it can be said that Mass Media plays a very vital role in investigations. Here in this article, we would succinctly deal with what mass media is and its impact on the investigation.

What is Mass Media?

Mass media is a term given to various sources like print media which includes newspaper, digital media which includes Internet and Television that carry information about various issues related to almost all the fields under the sun which makes it one of the most important and efficient sources of news and information. These Mass Media devices have proven themselves as an efficient source of acquiring statistics and investigate a case or event. A branch of Mass Media i.e. Investigative journalism in the modern times have become very crucial for bringing the offences, allegations and malpractices into the light. Having investigation with the help of mass media promotes good practices in society and enable to face challenges in the consequences of cases. Mass media performs various roles in order to investigate and examine the negative as well as the positive consequence of an incident or an event.

How does Mass Media aids in Investigation?

Mass Media in modern-day context has great relevance to the field of investigation. Hereunder are some of the major points where Mass Media assists investigation,

  1. Mass Media provides a solid source of investigation on specialized issues like business, government, politics and the like from archives, and records gathered from various sources which facilitate investigations.
  2. Interviews, Oral Statements recorded and broadcasted or published on various mass media devices establishes a point to concretize a fact which in turn would help in building up a case thereby facilitating the investigation.
  3. From the very advent of Mass Media, it has been the most credible source of gathering preliminary information is to facilitate an advanced investigation. In many landmark cases of India, mass media has played a pivotal role by establishing important links to support the investigation.
  4. Mass media aids in formulating policies and effectively enforce them. This has made it an adaptable method for procuring data and an effective tool altogether.
  5. Investigative journalism which is a conglomeration of Mass Media and Investigation has become very crucial for bringing the allegations, reasons, corruptions and consequences of criminal actions into the light. It promotes good practices in society and enables the parties to face challenges in the consequences of cases.
  6. It has also enabled the people to develop proper understanding to form their own opinion about a certain case.  Mass media has created a huge impact on highlighting some of the most controversial matters, and also encourages people to make their own judgments.
  7. Mass media has become an important part of police investigations as it helps investigations with the release of CCTV footage and other similar sources. Broadcasting of criminal trials in recent times has added an extra level of transparency in the overall justice delivery system.

Critics of Mass Media as a tool of Investigation

Although Mass media is widely used for investigations in many countries like India, Germany, Australia and the like, people are still reluctant to accept it as a mainstream platform for investigation of crimes. Critics of Mass media criticize the fact that it has become an integral part of the criminal justice system because according to them Mass Media is always subjective and biased towards the elitists who influence the information published on such devices. It is also criticized because not everything that is presented before us is the truth, in reality, sometimes it could be the subjective truth or it could be nothing but a narrative that a particular device wants to implant in the viewer’s/reader’s brain. Considering the present times of fake news reliability is the major issue that mass media is dealing with and this is also the major reason it is ranted against.

In many cases, mass media creates its own theories, meanings and images to establish a particular type of narrative. These narratives are assessed by various individuals and help them establish their thought process. Sometimes when the very narrative is crocked, the idea gets perverted thereby drastically affecting the overall social constructs. Based upon these observations it could be concurred that it is very difficult to conglomerate mass media with proper investigative purposes. Despite all this fear of crime has now become a significant part of media research and therefore a harmonious relationship between crime investigation and media usage should be maintained.

Mass Media as a tool of investigation in the 21st Century

Mass media in the 21st century has given individuals great access to the world around them. It has significantly minimized the distance between the people scattered all around the globe. Through Mass Media interaction between Police and Public is also facilitated and the smoke of hesitation has also dissipated. Through rights like the right to free speech, an individual can impart his or her perspectives to various issues and may likewise look for the significance of any political issue. Mass media has an important role to play in contemporary times because it helps us understand and make regulations to placate criminality thereby aiding the Justice Delivery System.

Mass media is the need of this hour and for this, we have to consider fresh possibilities which are goal-oriented and are advantageous in decreasing Criminality thereby placating Crime. It is also to be noted here that as our dependence on Mass Media increases new problems will arise, like that of subjectivity and biasness. To prevent such problems from creeping into this source of investigation we need to change our mentality and forget about the power-lust and simply show what is the truth. It is only through these ways that mass media would be helpful in the investigation and would help us get to know the truth.


With the evolution of media new issues are emerging every day, opportunities and challenges have emerged within criminal justice machinery which are directly engaging with criminals and crimes. It is time now to understand Mass media and its effect on the overall machinery of the criminal justice system. People need to understand its benefits in the prevention or reduction of their efforts in relation to crime. The proliferation of information should be made the basis for Indian media and it is only through these measures can the media aid in the investigation and crime control.

“The views of the authors are personal


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  2. ShristhiNatani, Role of Mass Media in Investigation,, (last visited 17th Feb, 2020, 04:00 PM)
  3. Ola Kazeem Falodun, Role of the Mass Media in Relation to Crime and Deviance,, (last visited 17th Feb, 2020, 04:00 PM)
I am Pratyush Pandey, a law student from the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. I am the third generation in my family to be in the legal academia and aspire to serve the legal fraternity. As of now, I have an interest in the field of Constitutional and Family Law. Also, I have a great interest in writing, mooting and speedcubing.