Mumbai, Sept 22: Earlier I used to think crime reporting can undermine public trust in law enforcement, especially if it focuses on negative stories. However, my thoughts have now changed, thanks to Sonam Saigal, a senior journalist at The Hindu. Her decade of experience has already given us tons of knowledge about reporting crime.
Before the module began, I knew some basic stuff about the subject, such as the different types of crimes, the criminal justice system, and the impact of crime on victims and communities.
However, her lectures have been an eye-opener. So far, she has taught important terms of law related to crime reporting like UAPA, ED, IB, CBI, etc, all enforcement branches under which different crimes are categorized. Some of them are frightening in their reach, like UAPA where you are not even given bail because the crime is against the nation and society. We have also learned about the hierarchy of criminal trials in Indian law which is helpful in reporting to distinguish between serious crimes and not so serious.
Within 6 lectures of crime reporting I got a better understanding of how to research and report on stories in a fair and accurate manner, to identify and assess newsworthiness in crime stories and how to use quotes effectively to support your claims, as well as how to protect the privacy of victims and suspects. We are also learning how to use social media and other digital tools to report on crime.
All the students of our batch have, at some point, voiced interest in crime reporting. Now we are looking forward to going into the field so that we can apply the insights we have been given.
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