The mass media are the prime sources of understanding in the areas concerning crime and criminality. When we mention the media mass media, we are talking about a part of the media that is made to reach a wide range of people. This include the newspapers, televisions, radios, magazines, newsletters etc. due to their influence, they have been used in crime to some extent.
Media houses have taken major steps in trying to track some criminal activities e.g. human trafficking, drug trafficking, making of fake money etc. in order to bring to the public’s attention of what is going on around us. The media has sometimes gone out of its way to follow up on criminal proceedings in order to make sure that the criminals have brought to justice.
It has taken the risk of unraveling those who have been involved in corruption activities so that the concerned authorities have got no option but to follow up on the concerned parties. In a country called Kenya, found in Africa, most corruption cases involving the government have been brought to the limelight by the media houses. By bringing some of the crimes in the lime light e.g. kidnapping, the public has been informed on some crimes that are more than others and what techniques the criminals are using so that one is careful (Muraskin & Roberts, 2009).
On the other hand, the media also present erroneous and distorted information about crime. Some media houses accept bribes from criminals in order to report ‘half baked’ information or information with some hidden facts to the public. A number of stories have gone under immediately they were revealed without much explanation or follow up.
In some cases, the crime is brought to the public’s attention but something just happens and one is not able to follow up to the end. In simple terms, we never get to see justice done. In some other cases, when a criminal story is brought to our attention, another story is brought up a few days later in order to distract our attention so that the original story is discarded. All these are tactics used to distract the mass from following up on these criminal cases.
In other instances, the media brings programs that encourage criminal activity to the young people. For example, programs that have a lot of killings, drug trafficking, fighting, all in one movie or program might not be so good for the young people. Mostly, these movies which are called action movies or programs are greatly watched therefore making the number of viewers many (Jewkes, 2004).
The media can contribute in both the positive and the negative sides of criminal awareness. It all depends on which side they want to dwell on.