Portrayal of the Image of Police in Media A study

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Portrayal of the Image of Police in Media A study

  1. 1. Seminar on Society, Governance and Police: India in The Post Millennium Period Organized by the Dept. of Political Science Kalyani University Date:18th and 19th November,2013
  2. 2. Portrayal of the Image of police in Media- A Study Presented By: Mou Mukherjee Das Assistant Professor, Aliah University Kolkata. mou.mukherjeedas@gmail.com.
  3. 3. What is an IMAGE. An image (from Latin: imago) is an artifact that depicts  or  records  visual  perception,  for  example  a twodimensional picture,  that  has  a  similar  appearance  to  some subject –  usually  a  physical  object  or  a person,  thus providing a depiction of it.
  4. 4. The ROLE of media in forming this image The mass media constantly surround us, and inform us. Mass media is the primary force(either direct and indirect experience) in shaping people's views of crime (Dominick 1978). Due to its pervasive nature media influences public’s attitudes toward police force.
  5. 5. Theoretical approaches in explaining the EFFECTS of media Agenda setting – instructing and suggesting the public in what to think about as the most important issues (e.g., whether government policing is an important issue at a given time and what aspects are important), Priming – associating and correlating people or institutions with particular issues (e.g., associating the police with crime fighting), Framing – shaping how to think about a given issue by either identifying and interpreting general trends or covering specific events (e.g., how often the police use excessive force in dealing with suspects).
  6. 6. The study Chibnall (1975) examined in his study about Fleet Street crime reporters, it found that media editors unscrupulously publicized and condemned police’s inefficiency on releasing crime information. Most news stories about police are focused on a specific crime, crime trends, or crime problems, and the police are rarely the focus of the report. Thus, a lot of news places police in the background of the story, mentioning them only in as much as they describe what they are doing about a crime event or larger crime issue (Surette, 1998:69-70).
  7. 7. The study contd.. (Fox and Van Sickel, 2001) has observed a recent trend among the news men and had called this as “tabloid justice” They argue that mass media have entered a time when they concentrate on the “sensationalistic, personal, lurid, and tawdry details of unusual and high-profile trials and investigations” (p. 3). The entertainment media present an extremely distorted view of the nature of police work, one that stresses crime fighting, police violence, and individualism (as exemplified by Dirty Harry) (Surette, 1998: 40-43).
  8. 8. Objective The paper aims to study the effects of media on common people and the formation of police image
  9. 9. MethodologyThe researcher aims to do this through  the study of secondary literature and  analyzing reporting on various recent incidents in various mediums.  The researcher had also interviewed certain police officials and media men, who on terms on anonymity had agreed to cooperate with the researcher.  The researcher had asked in general some important questions to the common people, though not in strict order of a questionnaire , in order to assess the public attitude towards the police
  10. 10. The Findings- Common perception about Police Police is supposed to be the protectors of the people but actually they are the main perpetrators and violators of crime Policemen are snob, have a casual approach towards the hapless, more often than not are lazy and delayed, and uses abusive languages and exhibit rude behavior, mostly in a coercive manner. People also felt that many policemen are politically affiliated and work accordingly under the power of the political hooligans and therefore praying justice before them will result in their loss of security. Thus they feel that it is wiser to keep quiet than to go to the police station and court problem.
  11. 11. Police due to their lackadaisical attitude, have built an image which shows them lacking in accountability in providing protection of life and security. While crimes are getting sophisticated, the police are becoming less professional Police are often ignorant and lack in adequate training in handling of cases related to women , children and even human rights A sensitization effect have occurred where the name of the police itself evokes an image of insecurity, problem and troubles in India.
  12. 12. The news reportsNews reports that have highlighted police image in common people’s mind the reports posited was a negative refrain about the profession and the institution itself. The reports invariably insensitive and lawless. portrayed police personnel as The police, on the other hand, accused the media of sensationalism and exaggeration.
  13. 13. While talking with a section of the media, the researcher found that the media persons feel there is a tendency on the part of the police to withhold information instead of sharing it with the press on the pretext of secrecy. To be tightlipped “no comment” has become an unwritten policy The media persons claim they had an experience which does not correspond with the national commission codes of police. They are often manhandled, roughed up and even shoved off. The police officials in a bid to defend the indefensible, make the exercise unconvincing and loose credibility in the eyes of the media, which provokes the media to expose and exaggerate the lapses of the police by gathering information from unreliable sources.
  14. 14. The Image of Police in the -Entertainment media Police are portrayed as masculine, smart, full of martial arts skills, fit, aggressive, action packed, always willing to shoot at suspects. Example- singham, gangajaal. The respondents when asked about certain serials which are presently portraying police in a positive image like crime patrol and savdhaan India- they claimed that the police attitudes and behavior varies considerably depending on the socio-economic status of the victims.
  15. 15. The Image of Police in the -Entertainment media Reel life does not correspond with the real life.
  16. 16. The Image of Police in the -Entertainment media Police force as shown in reel life -having a humanitarian approach and justice doers.
  17. 17. The SolutionThere ought to be a fair measure of understanding and an appreciation of each other’s role. Even media persons feel that they are willing to help the police, only if their attitude shows little consideration towards their work, rather than revealing show of power. Police officials can organize proper interactive sessions with the media and train the law enforcement officers accordingly
  18. 18. The Solution contd-Police officers must be adept in handling the media in the wake. Public relations strategies should be formulated to enhance the image of the police in the public mind along with arranging for workshops in local places to make common people aware about their rights thus build an amiable relationship between the police officials, media and the common people Media can be treated as an ally rather than a rival and can be helpful in disseminating information on departmental rules and practices and giving publicity regarding wanted persons and criminals.
  19. 19. It is equally important for the media to understand the difficulties of the police because the interests of both despite occasional friction - run in the same direction” According to Barthe (2010) crime newsletters can be a good idea to solve this problem: Content of Crime Newsletters • Self-protection techniques • Ways to report crime • Locations of police resources • Dangerous areas • Offender addresses • Area crime problems
  20. 20. Thank you….

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