Media houses have been called upon to rethink how they create the balance on reporting crime and avoid being sensational.
This call was made by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, as he delivered remarks during a panel discussion hosted by the Probation
Department on the topic: Societal Response to the Glamorisation of Delinquency and Crime, at the Grand Salle, Central Bank, yesterday.
Disagreeing with the views of Senior Lecturer of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Joan Phillips, that the media made crime headline news and glamorised it, Mr. Boyce stated that the media was merely doing their jobs and reporting on criminal activity.
???While we may think the media create influence, the police believe the media have a responsibility to report on criminal activity,??? he stated. However, that does not mean that they agreed with how it was reported, because the negative by far outstripped the positive.
In fact, the Assistant Commissioner charged that the method of media reporting on crime could in fact have a damaging effect on the island???s judicial system causing people to naturally lose confidence in it.
He explained that while the media reported on persons convicted and sentenced for a crime, the reports never indicated whether or not the system was fair.??Noting that life was about choices, the senior lawman stressed that reality shows were also influencing people???s actions in society.
Similar views were echoed by Attorney-at-law, Arthur Holder, who stressed that he did not believe reporting on cases was glamorising crime, but portraying the existence of what was really happening in society.
He held the view that the Barbadian society was stratified along class and racial lines. The attorney added that delinquency and crime were sustained among the lower class, which was observed before the court.
???Unless we tackle the transitional stage and understand that crime is in depressed areas, we could talk from now until the cows come home, we will not make a dent,??? he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips maintained her view that crime often made news headlines and was portrayed as something exciting.
She also charged that the media often gave a distorted image of crime and policing, and gave rise to what she described as the ???anti-heroes???, who she said were often portrayed as criminals on television who often got what they wanted through illegal means.
???The media need to focus on fair news and do articles and stories on the consequences of getting in trouble with the law,??? she suggested. Last night???s panel discussion was part of the Probation Department???s 70th anniversary celebrations.