Thursday, July 01, 2010

On justice and victims

Australia's media has taken to reporting on cases before the courts on the premise that the justice system is about justice for victims and that the end of the case is about that horrible meaningless word "closure".

The reporting of the Dr Patel case is an example -
the SMH headline was After five years, some justice for Patel's victims
the ABC led with Guilty verdict brings relief for Patel victims
Channel 9 wrote Victims find closure in Patel guilty verdict

The web version of the SMH story showed video (from Channel TEN) of one victim saying it was good to see justice done, not that there was justice done for him. The Channel Nine report quoted a victim sayin "It's just all confusing, but I'm just so happy ... I'm free, I'm free....It's closure alright." The construction of that reply suggests the word closure was offered by the interviewer in that annoying question "does this verdict give you closure?"

We need to understand that the purpose of our justice system is to enforce our social rules. When the system works it is working for all of us equally, not just those who were unfortunate enough to be victims in the specific case.

And those who supervise Australia's working journalists - the editirs and ultimately the owners of media - need to improve the standard of reporting.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I think you're being a bit harsh here David. Yes, the courts are there for enforcing rules, but hopefully it will also achieve justice for the victims, which makes for a better headline, and gives people someone to identify with.