Role of Media: Street Crime v/s Corporate Crime
Street Crime V. Corporate Crime
Crime can be of many types but, only two have been discussed in the article.
They are street crimes, also known as traditional crimes and corporate crimes.
Street crime is the most familiar one because it is the subject matter of daily
discussion on news, amongst politicians and people of society.
It is basically a type of crime which happens or emerges in a public place.
These crimes are violent in nature like crimes which involve bodily harm and are
against persons. For instance, battery, homicide, assault, robbery etc. It also
includes crimes against property which involves damage or theft of property. For
instance, burglary, shop-lifting, vandalism etc.
Corporate crimes which are a part of white-collar crimes, is a menace which is
similar to white-collar crimes in many aspects but the major difference between
the two is that, under corporate crimes, the person (or people) work for a
company and they do it on the company's behalf. Therefore, corporate crimes
primarily include tampering of books of accounts, diversion of funds, creation
of shell companies, tax evasion etc.
Every year the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) publishes an annual report
titled 'Crime in India Report' which states the rates of different street
crimes, crimes against women, cyber-crimes and such other parameters. But, the
NCRB is yet to publish an annual report on Corporate Crimes. Most Indians will
find next to nothing on corporate frauds, diversion of funds etc. from any
When a discussion in general takes place, people often talk of acts which are
violent and are interpersonal in nature or are property crimes. At the same
time, the harsh reality is that, these corporate crimes inflict far more damage
and injury on the members of the society in comparison with all the street
crimes merged, in terms of death or loss of money. C. Wright Mills, who was an
American sociologist, very rightly stated that corporate crimes produce higher
In 1984, when the Bhopal gas tragedy happened, in which more than 8000 people
died due to the release of methyl isocyanate (MIC), it was not an accident,
rather it was the result of corporate malfeasance. Such large quantity of MIC
was unwisely stockpiled in a densely populated area which was not up to the
minimum standards of safety. Also, the refrigeration unit was deliberately
turned off and the systems for safety were dismantled. Even after all of this,
the U.S. based Union Carbide Company, did not pay the total amount of 470
dollars as ordered by the Supreme Court.
In the year of 2001, Enron, an energy company committed corporate and accounting
fraud in which 74 billion dollars, which belonged to shareholders were lost
which lead to its bankruptcy. Due to the company's fraud, thousands of its
employees lost jobs.
Therefore, unlike street crimes, where the crime is mostly discovered and
investigated quickly, corporate crimes generally take a lot of years just for
the investigation to be completed and it takes even longer to prosecute them.
Remember, Enron was involved in fraud since 1985, but was not caught until 2001,
which is sixteen long years and after such a big scandal, the CFO Andrew Fastow,
went to prison for only five years./
In spite of the havoc caused to the society from such corporate crimes, media
and even some experts on law enforcement, debate that these crimes are different
from street crimes in various important respects. They also try to take the edge
off of the impact of corporate crimes by pointing to an absence of mens rea i.e.
Therefore, this article will analyse how the media has covered, dealt and
influenced certain corporate crimes in comparison to street crimes. Also, how
the street murders are covered by the media in comparison to corporate murders.
Thus, for this purpose, the author has taken a period of seven days starting
from 21st July, 2019 to 28th July, 2019 as base for the analysis of thefts and
A comparative analysis of these thefts and robberies committed within
that week has been done with the Fraud committed by the IMA group of companies
which was in news in that week due to the arrest of Mohd. Mansoor Khan (owner of
IMA). Also, for the comparison of street murders with the famous corporate
murders in India has been done using the same time frame. For the purpose of
comparison, the author has used news from Times of India because it is the
largest selling and esteemed English daily in India as per the Indian Readership
Survey of 2019.
Journalism in Street crime v Corporate CrimeOn 21st July, 2019, two people, robbed three family members in Kalyan, Mumbai.
The duo was wearing monkey caps and then they held knives at the throat of two
of the victims and fled away with cash of Rs. 10,000 and their cell phones worth
around Rs 50,000. The duo was arrested by the police within three hours of the
incident and was put in police custody.
On the same day, a man named Talib Shaikh (23) was robbed by two people at
Sandhurst Road station. The duo emptied his pockets and fled.
On 22nd July, 2019, hotelier of Mulund, Suresh Noojaje was found dead in his
house in Shahpur. The accused entered into the house by taking out the window
grill. The police suspected that the burglars came with the intention to rob the
house as every corner of the house had been messed up.
On 24th July, 2019, two men were arrested for stealing gold, diamond and silver
studded ornaments from an elderly couple's house where one of them worked as
cook. When the couple left for Bangkok on 16th July, 2019, the cook and his
cousin broke into the house and committed the said crime and parted with 62 lakh
Rupees. They were booked under section 381 of IPC which is theft by servant.
On 25th July, 2019, police arrested the six member Pardhi tribe gang which was
responsible for robbery and murder of Suresh on 22nd July, 2019. Police said
that these people are among others who are involved in a many well executed
thefts and murders across various states. The exact worth of the loot was not
disclosed but the police was able to recover items and cash worth Rs. 5,00,000.
It was also disclosed by the police that on the same night, the gang burgled two
other houses in the neighbourhood and they plan on catching nine more people who
might be involved in this crime.
On the same day, three eunuchs were arrested by the police in a robbery case.
They snatched Rs. 24,000 from a commuter outside the Kalyan station, Mumbai.
On 26th July, 2019, a 24-year-old caretaker was arrested by the police for
stealing foreign currencies and ornaments of gold worth Rs. 1.95 lakh from his
74-year-old employer's home. He was arrested from the Kandivli station at the
right time due to the tip-off received by the police. Further, on the same day,
three bag snatchers, snatched a purse from the complainant and fled away in an
auto rickshaw. They were continuously followed by the complainant and her
brother-in-law and later on were nabbed by two traffic cops. The whole amount of
Rs. 1,00,000 was recovered and the thieves were put in police custody.
These cases are within the span of one week. The news of robbery and thefts, is
everyday news which is published in the Indian newspaper, whether the culprit is
caught or not and whether he is punished or not. However, there was a case of
corporate crime which was extensively covered by the media since the day it
Md Mansoor Khan, who was a management graduate, started I Monetary Advisory (IMA)
in the year 2006. It was launched as a business which would invest in bullion
and deliver 7% to 8% returns to partners of the investments. Khan then started a
ponzi scheme and this scheme also went the same way as almost all the ponzi
schemes invariably go. He dragged in Muslim politicians and local maulvis to
endorse the scheme on his behalf. He pretended himself to be a true Muslim,
therefore, in the pretence of it, he used to donate to madrassas and masjids and
gifted the Holy Quran to each of his investor.
In the beginning of the scheme, the returns were good enough and were paid with
cheques, leading to investment of more money by the investors. They kept on
believing in Khan and then gradually his enterprise which started from bullion
grew into retail jewellery, from infrastructure to healthcare, education and
gold finance. Through this kind of expansion, he became a brand name among
This belief started to shake, when in 2017, the shrinking stage set in as it
does in every ponzi scheme. The returns slacked from 9% to 5% and then in
mid-2018, it settled at meagre 3%. The panic started among the investors when
the returns further declined to 1% in February, 2019 and then died out in May,
2019. The real problem started when investors found themselves helpless and the
office of IMA shut. A lot of requests for the withdrawal of investments started
coming but Khan announced that the office was closed due to the holiday for Eid
and after that he went underground.
After probing into this matter, it was discovered that more than 4000 crore
Rupees were raised illegally in the form of deposits from lakhs of investors,
but a clean chit was given to its promoter-director, Md Mansoor Khan and the
company by the state's CID. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED)
on 21st July, 2019, when he arrived in New Delhi after allegedly absconding to
Dubai. After this, the government of Karnataka constituted a special
investigation team (SIT) of the police to examine into this scam before handing
it over to the CBI.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the inquiry on 2nd
September, 2019. They hired an acclaimed financial risk assessment and
management company to check the books of accounts and financial statements of
IMA. It was discovered that Khan fabricated figures of thousands of crores in
the books of accounts of the company.
Further, upon probing it was found, that the IMA earned a revenue of Rs 12 crore
during the financial year 2017-18 but, however, the fabricated books showed that
the company had earned a revenue of Rs. 8520.57 crore. Through this manipulation
of books, he was able to dupe innocent investors into becoming partners of the
company. The CBI also reported that they had not obtained any permission from
RBI to collect such a large amount of deposits from the public under this ponzi
On 10th October, 2019, CBI had filed a supplementary charge sheet against
Mohammed Haneef Afsar Azeezi, a maulvi and Khaleemulla Jamal, describing them as
people who had close relations with Mansoor Khan.
The current situation in this scam is that, on 11th March, 2020, the state
government was waiting for a cabinet decision to regarding the setting up of
special courts to hear the cases related to this multi-crore scheme in which
more than 34,000 innocent investors were defrauded. Hence, the government is
considering whether it should set up two or three courts, keeping in view the
huge amount of evidence which is being submitted related to this case.
This scam came into light in May, 2019 but the arrest was made on 21st July,
2019 and since then it has received regular news coverage by the media. Each and
every development in this scam has been reported including the last update which
was on 11th March, 2020. For the investigation of this scam, firstly SIT and
then CBI was brought into picture and the further inquiry might take place in a
While comparing thefts and robberies with the fraud committed by the IMA group
of companies as covered and highlighted by the TOI newspaper, the author has
found several differences between them. The cases of thefts and robberies are
like constants in the paper, seven cases were printed within the span of seven
It is really down in the dumps that, when thousands of people suffer
collectively, it becomes a serious issue for the government and a scam, in other
words, stealing from innocent people becomes a corporate crime whereas, when
thousands of people are looted by robbers and thieves all the time during the
year, it does not become a serious issue and is merely named as another street
Both the pieces of news are very differently presented in the newspaper. The
news of thefts or robberies is never printed on the front page while the news of
this IMA fraud was on the front page as well as on the business page of the
paper. The news of thefts and robberies are mostly printed in the side columns
in the middle pages.
They can be easily missed by the reader, while the news of IMA fraud and similar
crimes are printed in bold as headlines. Further, in cases of such street
crimes, only the information about arrest is available, there is no further
update about the investigation or the punishment given to the accused whereas in
case of IMA fraud, every small update has been printed by the TOI. The readers
have been made very much aware about the current situation of the case.
In addition to this, while printing the facts of a street crime, the use of
descriptive words like 'snatcher', 'thief', 'burglar', 'robber' is attached with
the name of the accused but when, one reads the column of a corporate crime, no
such adjective is associated with the name of the accused. This is because the
person involved in this crime is rich and powerful as compared to the
individuals involved in the street crime.
Even though fraud is a type of theft, Mansoor Khan was never addressed as a
thief rather he has always been referred to as 'Khan or
promoter-director. Hence, this type of smart journalism and discriminatory
treatment influences the mind of the readers. Additionally, our legal policy for
corporate crime has a better compilation of regulatory mechanism, criminal
sanctions and civil remedies in comparison to our legal policies for street
Our unnecessary retributivism contributes to unfruitful punishments. Therefore,
as opposed to tolerating the long-standing contention that corporate crime's
enormous damages require treating it more gravely, we ought to rather start
treating street crimes more like corporate crimes.
The NCRB reported in 2019 that robberies and thefts are harming the length and
breadth of this nation. As per its report in the last year, out of the 2,49,000
criminal cases filed across the country by the state police in 2018, nearly 80%
were of theft. This is an increase of about 10% from 2016 when the figures stood
at 2,20,854. The NCRB also reveals that in 2017, the stolen property's value was
more than Rs. 2065 crore and due to thefts and robberies the financial loss is
steeply increasing. Further, when such crimes are committed, the police
registers FIR only under Section 379 of IPC which is theft and does not combine
it with section 356 which is assault of criminal force to commit theft and
section 392 which is robbery. Under section 379, the maximum sentence is three
years whereas under section 356 and 392 it is two years and 10 years,
respectively. To this issue, it has been observed that, most of the people who
are accused of theft are eventually acquitted and roam unpunished and this is
the main reason that the rate of crime is continuously increasing. In addition
to this, though the introduction of e-FIR has increased the reporting of the
cases but the lack of proper investigation is not helping in containing it and
this grey area of policing should be set right.
Journalism in Street Murder v/s. Corporate Murder
Murder, in general terms means the unlawful killing of a person with a malafide
intention. It is considered as one of the most serious crimes in the civil
society and therefore, as a consequence it has a harsh punishment across various
countries. In legal terms, murder is termed as culpable homicide.
Under section 299 of The Indian Penal Code, culpable homicide has been defined
as, 'who ever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death,
or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death,
or with the knowledge that his act is likely to cause death, commits the offence
of culpable homicide.'
Further, section 300 of IPC defines Murder as when culpable homicide amounts to
murder. It says that, if the act due to which death has been caused is committed
with the intention to cause death or the offender commits such act with the
intention of causing bodily injury which he knows will result in the death of
the person to whom such harm is done or the bodily injury is sufficient in the
ordinary course to cause death or the offender knows that his act in any
circumstance will result in death.
According to the last NCRB report, a total number of 30,62,579 cases where
registered, according to the crime list. The data reported a murder rate of 2.29
per 1,00,000 population. It is the lowest since 1963. The way murder cases are
covered by the TOI is plausible.
For instance, on 21st July, 2019, a 21-year-old man named Arun, murdered his
girlfriend in Mumbai. Before murdering the deceased, he took out a blade and
slit his hand and then used that blood as sindoor and then also clicked a
selfie with her. They were staying in a guest house and when they did not open
the door for dinner, the hotel staff called police. The police broke into the
room and found the dead body of the girl and Arun hanging from the ceiling.
On the same day, two men named Mohammed Ghouse and Irfan (both 22), confronted
the deceased in public view at Nampally in Nalgona district for not taking care
of two children belonging to Razia, who was related to both the accused and the
victim. Soon a fight started between them and the duo beheaded him with a knife
from a nearby coconut vendor. Then they walked into the police station to
surrender for this horrifying murder.
On 22nd July, 2019, a 48-year-old man, who used to run a hotel in Dubai was
killed by unidentified robbers. He was found dead in his second home in Shahpur
taluka. His body had injury marks and his hands and legs had also been tied up.
The police revealed that they found the window grill broken and the whole house
messed up. The police suspects that the robbers entered the house late at night
and when the deceased tried to resist, they killed him. A case was registered
under Section 302 and 460 of IPC and a senior police officer claimed that they
will crack this case very soon.
On 23rd July, 2019, a man named Vicky Ganji (33) was found dead with a bullet
injury in his chest. His father, who was on ground floor heard a
firecracker-like sound and then he rushed upstairs to his first floor flat and
saw his son lying in a pool of blood. The police suspected it to be a case of
murder and the investigation was started beginning with the checking of CCTV
The very next day, on 24th July, 2019, the father of the abovementioned
deceased- Vicky Ganji was arrested for murder. The father, Sriniwas Ganji (55)
said earlier that he was on ground floor when he heard a firecracker-like sound
but his statement did not match what the police saw in the CCTV footage. It
showed the deceased entering the building and he was being followed by his
father. Also, the murder weapon which was a gun, was found in his scooter.
Sriniwas did not confess to this until the evidence was discovered.
On 25th July, 2019, the murder case which happened on 22nd July, 2019 and is
mentioned in this chapter was solved. Six members were arrested by the police.
They belonged to Pardhi tribe gang. These six accused entered the house by
taking off the window grill with the intention to commit robbery but they also
attacked the deceased when he tried to resist them.
On 27th July, 2019, within 24 hours of Arvind Gund (58), an APMC vegetable
trader's murder, his son was arrested. Anil Gund (28), confessed to the police
that he had hired two of his friends to kill his father as he was angry and
annoyed by the daily reprimands from his father. The Nerul Police, Navi Mumbai
was still looking for the contract killers who were also drug addicts along with
These are only the cases which happened within a week from amongst the lakhs of
cases which happen during the whole year. In all the above cases, the news of
arrest and certain further developments can be found. In the first case, the
killer committed suicide but in the all the other cases it is known that all the
accused were arrested and are not roaming free. The news media is active in
publishing such developments in the cases of such brutal murders.
Whereas, if any case of a corporate murder happens, the news media does not
cover that matter unbiasedly rather it is flooded with political debates as to
which government or political party is liable, which results in complete loss of
track as to the company's negligence. Also, the deaths which result from the
company's negligence is murder but the companies are not charged with murder
neither are the people who are responsible for managing the affairs of the
company held liable for the same.
According to the Collins Dictionary, corporate murder is also called corporate
killing and it means: Death of a person caused as a result of corporate
negligence due to an act or omission. Corporate murders are committed by
companies which exist as an artificial person and therefore, under the doctrine
of separate legal entity, they often inflict harm on the society. The doctrine
of lifting of corporate veil was introduced as a remedy to the defects in the
doctrine of separate legal entity. From this doctrine, it was established that
every company is managed by individuals who form the mind of the company and
therefore, manage its affairs.
In the case of Standard Chartered Bank, the Apex court was of the opinion that
companies can be held liable for crimes in which actus rea and mens rea, both
are required to be fulfilled. Even after several judgments regarding the
capability of companies to commit crimes like individual there has been no
initiative to bring any legislation to recognise corporate murders in India. The
reasons for corporate murders are many like companies disposing their toxic
waste without treating it, selling adulterated food items resulting in consumers
deaths or companies causing environmental disasters due to their negligence
towards prescribed environmental standards.
India has experienced plenty of tragedies in the past due to which hundreds of
innocent civilians were killed. Tragedies like Oleum Gas Leakage, Bhopal Gas
tragedy, Uphaar Cinema fire and such similar cases are the outcome of negligence
of these big corporates. Not only the past, the present is also tragic with the
exercise in Monsanto for the invention of genetically engineered seeds which has
led to suicide of several farmers, bauxite mining in Orissa by Vedanta,
activities undertaken by Coca Cola in Kerala and various others across the
Various legislations were passed by the government after the Bhopal gas tragedy.
The Environmental Protection Act, 1986, The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
and The Protection of Human Rights, 1993 were brought into picture. For
instance, establishment of Ministry of Environment and Forest took place under
the Environment Protection Act, 1986. They were assigned with the function to
coordinate actions of various Central and State authorities, inspection of plant
sites, attribution of minimum standards of emissions, obtaining data about
different industrial processes or any other such activity which violates the
In addition to this, the IPC consisted of provisions to address the crime of
wrong doings by the corporates, but these provisions are not deterrent enough.
For instance, under section 269, if any person negligently or unlawfully
indulges in any act which is or which that person knows or believes likely to
spread the infection of any disease which is dangerous to life, and then he can
be imprisoned for six months or with fine or both. Similarly, section 272 of the
act provides for same punishment in case of adulteration of any food or drink
which makes it dangerous or unfit for consumption.
Considering the practical scenario, there are cases of death due to consumption
of adulterated food or drink. For example, in February, 2019, more than 100
people died in Uttar Pradesh due to consumption of bootlegged alcohol which was
distributed in various districts of Northeastern India. Few people were arrested
for manufacturing and selling adulterated alcohol but the maximum punishment
under IPC is 6 months. For the death of more than 100 innocent people, only a
six months imprisonment cannot be referred to as justice and this was just an
example for ample number of cases which keep on happening in our country and not
all of them include big body corporates.
Even in the cases of big companies, it can be asserted that the legal definition
of 'person' does not include body corporate because companies can only be fined
and not put in prison. Further, the fines payable by them are peanuts in
comparison with the profits they earn and therefore, are not satisfactory enough
to stop them.
Further, The Companies Act, 2013 also does not acknowledge any single issue
relating to corporate murder and its impact in the society. The Government of
India keeps on introducing unfruitful legislations and fiscal benefits to
control these corporate murders but it is far from introducing a comprehensive
legislation which will primarily focus on crimes related to corporate murder or
Corporate killings. Although, at every step, India has taken insight from
foreign laws however, it is not able to introduce an act dealing with corporate
killings even after the massive disaster of Bhopal gas tragedy even though such
act exists in the UK under the name, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate
Homicide Act, 2007.
When such tragedies take place, the involvement of media can be seen on large
scale. They conduct research to know the reasons behind the incident, and they
keep the people across the country updated about the latest finding in the case,
they conduct discussions by calling in experts and many such things. The media
is often able to create pressure on police, court and government to take the
case seriously as the whole nation has its eyes upon them.
Nevertheless, these efforts are in vain if we do not have adequate punishment
for such negligent corporates and people managing its affairs, who even after
committing biggest of crimes like mass murder in the guise of corporate murder
roam unpunished. This incompetency of law for dealing with corporate murder in
comparison to culpable homicide amounting to is clearly visible through this
chapter. Hence, this calls for a specific piece of legislation which will
include provisions and sanctions that can be levied upon corporations in event
of such industrial disaster whose outcome is death of innocent people.
The Politicization by MediaIn the earlier chapters of this article, we have seen that how media
differentiates in covering the different pieces of news according to its nature
and people involved. This chapter focuses on why the media coverage is important
in corporate crimes, their political inclination and the ways in which media
influences the way society thinks and understands such crimes. It is a widely
accepted notion that the perception of society is highly influenced by media in
cases of corporate crimes. Media often has undue influence in relation to what
is broadcasted on news channels and written in the newspapers. This unwarranted
bias done by the media often undermines the process of justice.
The purpose of news constructions done by the media is an agenda to form public
opinion. People form opinions on the contemporary issues by reading
advertisements, news reports, they procure information on political propagandas
and then they act accordingly.
'Crime' is one of the most serviced topics which the news media uses via its
various channels of distribution like newspapers, news or radio broadcasts. As a
common man living in this society, almost every individual gain understanding
about crime and the system of criminal justice through these channels, even
though its creation and factuality is often a major concern. Crime is a topic
which interests everybody in the society and therefore, it has been and always
will be used as a medium, by the media for both information and entertainment,
thus the invented term Infotainment. Several researchers have supported
this view that the media often presents the news related to crime in a distorted
and in an over-refined manner.
For instance, in the earlier chapter it can be clearly seen that street murders
or street crimes are over presented in comparison to corporate crimes and
corporate murders. This is because the public is fascinated by crimes and
therefore, to increase their interest media often twists the facts, statistics
or images in order to meet this fascination and this invisible and hidden demand
of public suddenly becomes intriguing.
For instance, it can be seen that when Muslim , Dalit or any other individual
of ethnic minority are in question, the media reports are less likely to
distinguish them by name and are depicted by such tags which can be clearly
associated with their religion or ethnicity, compared to rich or Hindu suspects.
On the other hand, when any rich or powerful person is accused in a case and the
victim is of ethnic minority, they are under presented by the media in the news.
The agenda behind this biasness in race and status is due to the fact that the
media involves itself in an ethnic blame game policy and this is carried out to
please the political party which is backing them and therefore, as a result to
please their respective followers. Hence, in India whenever a major corporate
crime takes place, the media always finds a way and tries to establish an
illicit involvement of the opposite political party in it.
According to a study, it has been brought to light that there are minimum ten
media owners who have a direct or an indirect link with politics or political
parties. Some individuals have refused to declare their political aligning, yet
they are the owners of media companies. Dr. Subhash Chandra, who is the co-owner
of Zee News is also a member of Rajya Sabha since August, 2016 and he got
elected with the help of the Bhartiya Janta Party in Haryana. Therefore, Zee
Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) owner of Zee News is amongst the top four Hindu
channels in the country which are seen as congenial to BJP and its politics.
In addition to this, Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekar is also a member of BJP and is a
member of the Rajya Sabha. He established Republic TV which is now one of the
most watched news channels. Although, he resigned from the board of directors
stating his engagement in politics but the channel still remains as a BJP-friendly
television news channel. In today's date also, Indian laws do not provide for
any regulatory safeguards against the political control over media. Political
ownership in print media or television is not restricted in our country. They
are only disqualified from applying a license for the operation of a radio
Further, the trend of paid news in India has surfaced major doubts towards the
factuality of the cases reported by them. Apart from political affiliations, the
media operators also take money or enter into contracts with the celebrities and
powerful businessmen for favourable coverage. For this kind of arrangements,
Times of India and Zee News are very famous. For instance, in 2012, Naveen
Jindal, the chairman and MD of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) made the video
recordings of Zee News and Zee Business public for alleged attempt at extortion.
It was brought to light that the editors were trying to extort money to black
out the unfavourable reports which were related to the irregularities faced by
them in the Indian Coal allocation scam.
Therefore, when we talk about influence, it can be seen that media has a lot of
influence on crime and it is often felt that for a society which has less crime,
less phobia of crime and coherent criminal policies, certain amount of burden
lies on the media and their modus operandi in covering and reporting a criminal
act. But this tampering and prejudice by the media in respect of corporate
crimes, as such incorrect projections and illustrations of their acts and
victims have the power to influence public opinions and even change the course
of justice in certain cases.
From the data and incidents provided in the above article, I have concluded that
even in the eyes of media, corporate crime is mostly enveloped by an aura of
respectability and politeness, seldom present in cases of street crime.
Corporations are rarely addressed as 'lawbreakers' and almost never as
criminals by the media in their reports or channels. Even if they are liable
for the violation of criminal law like seen in the case of corporate murder, or
any other law, their counsels will frame it as corporation is facing some
problems but no one ever said that a thief or robber having a problem.
Due to the way in which corporate crimes are presented by the media, the
society's reaction to it has become dissimilar from that of street crimes. It is
assumed by people that the crimes committed by the rich and powerful are mere
'technical violations' which demands no moral accountability. Rather than
differentiating corporate and street crime in the abovementioned manner, the
media should show it to the public that both the categories of law-breakers are
not fully different from each other. The only distinction between the two is in
the way criminal laws are implemented on them, thus, segregating corporate
crimes administratively from street crimes.
Further, our NCRB mainly focuses on street crimes and this leads to the leaving
out of corporate criminals, which in-turn cements the inappropriate social
construction created by the media. This failure of the media to incorporate
corporate crime into criminal report that are necessary to represent criminal
victimization in the nation removes it from the consciousness of the public.
Hence, it can be concluded that corporate crimes are mostly ignored by the media
as it is not visually captivating. The harm to the victims in such crimes is
generally monetary or indirect and therefore, the media is not able to grab
public's attention or create fear in their minds.
Attention of media is more when a celebrity is involved such as Amitabh Bachchan,
who received far more media attention for Panama papers as compared to other
people in the list. The reports of corporate crime are mostly used as a medium
of infotainment rather than exposing of truth. The objective of media houses is
to earn a large sum of money so to achieve this goal they do not always report
the accurate facts.
When an individual is in power, he has the ability to shape people's vision of
the truth. The public witnesses very little of corporate crime in the media
because powerful politicians and businessmen own these media houses and when
such businessmen commit crime, the media is prejudiced against reporting such
Therefore, the society sees more crime being committed by the street criminals
rather than seeing these wealthy people committing 'crimes in suites.' This type
of smoke and mirror broadcasting by the media produces a manipulative image in
the eyes of public as they are not aware about the crime and they believe the
information to be factual and hence, resulting in formation of opinion from the
portrayal done by the media.
Hence, the curtailment of focus on corporate crimes, to a certain extent is due
to the twisted and convoluted coverage by the media. The manner in which the
media has handled corporate murder is inadequate to their coverage in the cases
of street murder. Indeed, it can be seen that corporate murders are relatively
ignored by the society in the garb of negligence because they are considered to
be essentially different from street crimes.
Also, the course of action through which media has managed to portray corporate
crime is not adequate in comparison to its response in the cases of street
crimes. Therefore, the gap between coverage of corporate crime and street crime
is increasing in news channels and it needs to be bridged by keeping national
interest before personal agendas during coverage and broadcasting.
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