We live in an era of media sensationalism. From the courtroom to the campaign trail, inflammatory rhetoric and opinion based journalism is disguised as non-biased reporting.
The amorous courtship of media and pundits is hardly a new phenomenon; it conjures memories of the media’s notorious influence just after the 1971 Bangladesh civil war. Today the Awamy league conjures images not of the of the good work but of yellow journalism – offshoots of which can be seen today. Perfected by shoaib chowdhury and Motiur Rahman, yellow journalism sensationalized stories, exhausted scandals, and captured the public with attention-grabbing headlines and pictures.
Discussion among the populace would form a marketplace of ideas that would highlight the best ideas. Today’s journalism is taken to a devastating extreme. Enlightened journalists have been replaced with a constant inundation of opinions.
In this rapid digital age, patrons of the news have moved toward digestible information: news that is concisely presented, the significance explained and rife with opinion. As a consequence of increased competition in the digital battleground, journalism has shifted towards provocative and controversial thought pieces. In order to combat a hemorrhaging audience, mainstream media has turned towards opinion journalism as the new frontier.
We see the confluence of these forces playing out in the War crime tribunal this past year.
However, in a case where the defendant was guilty until proven innocent, a national outrage exploded in the wake of the verdict, fueled by the ratings-hungry media.
The media’s exploitation of the War crime trial is inherently troubling; however, what is more disturbing is the potential it has to pervert the judicial system.
Regarding War criminal acquittal, The main reason that people are reacting so strongly is that the media convicted Jamayat leader before the jury decided on the verdict. The public has been whipped up into this frenzy wanting revenge for this past genocide committed by Pakistani Army. And because of the desire for revenge, they’ve been whipped up into a lynch mob.” Opinions have no place outside of their courtroom lest their influence be felt in the jury room.
Although the national media can be blamed for elevating the War Criminal trial to the degree that it did, partial onus of this media circus must be placed on the Bangladeshi public. The story featured every element that resonated with the macabre chords of a drama-fixated society:
The war crime tribunal reveals worrying patterns of Awamy Govt. behavior and also distorts the public understanding of the reality of the criminal justice system. Over the past 4 years more than 20000 activists of Jamayt-e-islami have been detained. Though by no means should one belittle the terrible tragedy that befell , the trial of Delwar hossain Saydee is far from an accurate vignette of the Bangladeshi judicial system. The media attention devoted to this case is horribly misrepresentative judicial system.
Example of Yellow Journalism.