Collaborative Research Networks

CRN45  Law and the Media


Itay Ravid and Maria Valentina Aduen Ramirez

This CRN seeks to study the depictions of legal cases, actors and courts in the media, and to explore the nature and implications of increased media presence on the conduct of legal affairs and on public knowledge of and trust in the legal system.  The CRN will provide a forum for the convergence of interest of a variety of issues in the study of the intersection of media and the law that have been explored by scholars from diverse disciplines, such a political science, sociology, criminology, media studies, and of course legal scholars.

Communications scholars have noted that there is no field of human activity or dimension of social life that is untouched or reconfigured by the media.  Although law has often been considered immune to media influences, and the media regarded as irrelevant to legal procedures and decision making, still, courts all over the world have increased their spokesperson activities, lawyers for both the prosecution and defense have begun to include media strategies in their legal services and the public as always is largely dependent on media sources for knowledge and information about the legal system.

Within this context of increasing media activity and dependence by the legal profession, the judiciary and the public at large, the CRN will address issues that have emerged in various disciplines, and that will benefit from the interdisciplinary analysis of law and media. Among the topics that have been raised by different scholars are:  What do the media tell us about the legal system, and how have the media sustained and eroded public faith in legal authority?  How have the accessibility and immediacy of new technologies affected lawyers’ practices, the rhetoric of judicial decisions, the changing role of the legal reporter, and laymen’s knowledge about the legal system and their reactions to the legal process in blogs and responses to newspaper reports. Are there differences in media coverage of the law in common law and civil law systems, do they report different types of cases, what are the implications of these differences.  How has the judiciary responded to the new media, and are there differences in judicial efforts to manage public relations?


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