Role of the media in Jessica Lall case
The Supreme Court has upheld the life term for Manu Sharma who was convicted for the 1999 murder of Jessica Lall.
The case became a cause celebre for the media, helping it grab eyeballs in a decade when private news channels mushroomed in the country.
It even inspired a novel by diplomat Vikas Swaroop, the author of the book on which the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” was based.
The case was something of a pot-boiler where fashion, high society, crime, political influence and media activism came together.
As Jessica Lall’s family heaves a sigh of relief the media too can pat itself on the back.
Or can it?
The case also highlights the bias of the English-speaking media for what is described as PLUS or “People Like Us”.
Had Jessica been some nameless woman in a village would the case and the interest of the media been sustained this long?
Would the outcome have been the same?
Within a fortnight after Jessica Lall was shot over her refusal to serve drinks, an icecream parlour attendant was allegedly shot dead for not stocking a particular icecream brand.
What happened to that case?
The similarity to the Jessica case was uncanny except we don’t care. Or do we?
It may be said the media cannot focus on every case of crime, it is the job of the state after all.
Yet can it be gainsaid that choices can be revealing?
Does the English media play a plutocratic role in this democratic country?