Media representation of rape and sexual assault in the Uk

  • 07 Pages
  • Published On: 08-12-2023

Introduction

The print media is a key disseminator of knowledge where a large percentage of population in the UK solely depend on the print media for the facts, figures, daily news and latest updates. The media reports are hereby influence the public opinion at large and it also has great impacts on the social activities of the individuals in the country. In particular, the media report on rape and sexual assault in the UK cam affect the legal perspectives and responsible to such cases in multiple levels (Leahy, 2021). The media reports on rape and sexual assault in the UK hereby may influence the victim reports, police judgements and opinion as well as legal official activities in the country. The study is effective for understanding the role of media in representing rape and sexual assault in the UK, where the media channels are facing threat in representing articular information and data about rape and sexual assault, as it is sensitive topic which may influence the opinion of the individuals in the country (Hayes and Luther, 2018). The role of print media and the news reports are playing an important role to share the information and provide data to the general public in the UK, which is crucial for the population to identify the crime rate in the UK and cooperate with the government for taking further actions to mitigate the issue. On the other hand, media organisations are facing serious issues to highlight the problem of rape and sexual assault in the UK as well as share the information by identifying its validity and authenticity so that it would be possible to show the proofs through pictures or legal data and reports.

Role of media in representing rape and sexual assault in the UK
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The news media are called on the report on rape and sexual assault in the UK in their daily coverage, where the media coverage on crimes including rape and sexual assault has crucial impacts on the beliefs, knowledge, attitude and behaviour of the people in the country. The news houses are also highly concerned about the information, shared through the media covers on the sensitive issue of rape and sexual assault in the UK. For providing the news on rape and sexual assault, the news houses such as The Times, The Independent and The Sunday Times must have supportive documents, crime and legal documents of the rape and sexual assault, so that there would be adequate proof for the newsroom while sharing the news (Hayes and Luther, 2018). The media houses are as concerned with the social institution and public policy who are working of the sexual assault cases in the country. The Medias are the main information source for rape and sexual assault in the UK and the newspapers are covering wide range of information related to the cases, and this approach fosters the public attitudes of non-tolerance towards this type of violence. Hence, the information, covered by the newsroom must have essential proof and evidences to support the arguments (Hayes and Luther, 2018). Moreover, the new Medias are trying to print the information irrespective of any diversity in related to cast, gender, age group and cultural background, so that there would be no such inter cultural diversity in the society. Given all the information circulating about sexual assaults, it can be complicated in differentiating between the reality and myths. Hence, the information provided by the media house, is objective and free of prejudice (Barn and Powers, 2021). The articles in the newspaper focus on sharing the situation and the victims for such crime of rape and sexual assault in the society which further influence the invidiously in the UK to more likely consider this issue as social problem rather than a private matter.

There are different stereotype related to sexual assault and rape, which may raise the issue of diversity in the society. The words such as personality characteristics, real incidents, women perceptions are not applicable as the men members in the society take it sensitively which may change the behaviour fog the men towards the society. It is important for the media house and mass communication to share the actual incident rather than sharing own opinion or the opinion of others. It further helps to maintain difference between myths and reality so that the population in the UK can get the actual and real news related to the issue of rape and sexual assault (Barn and Powers, 2021). The British Psychological Society (BPS) recently issued a press release, where the Telegraph headline stated ‘Scientists say women who drink alcohol, wear short skirts and are outgoing are more likely to be raped’. The results described in the headline were contrary to the study’s findings and this raises diversity in the society where women feel ashamed of such statement in the newspapers. Hence, without any controversial statement, personal opinion and gender biasness, it is important for the media house to share the real situation and issue related to rape and sexual assault and wait for the court judgements for the particular case. Hence, language is one of the major factors for the media houses The Times, The Independent, the Telegraph and The Sunday Times to realise news related to the rape and sexual assault in the UK (Barn and Powers, 2021). Print media houses must focus on the content which is developed for sharing the information and the content editor must review and analyse the content so that there would be no such controversial posts, which may influence the judgements, police opinion and hamper the victims. As it is a sensitive topic and major social issue in the UK, it is the role of the media houses to choose the content so that fairness and accountability can be maintained efficiently while releasing the news. Without fairness in sharing the authentic information, the media houses cannot continuous to share the news and in future they face legal compliances for their press release (Serisier, 2017). Hence, content development is one of the major factors which improve the activities of mass communication to communicate with the public with authentic sources of information and valid data related to the social issue of rape and sexual assault.

Freedom of the Press and Challenging the Rights of Rape Victims to Privacy and Anonymity is one of the major concerns in the mass communication industry, where the media house must protect the victims and maximise then human rights article 10. The privacy of the victim must be managed well by the media houses as well as the private information will be secured by Data protection Act 1998, where the private information and incidents are required for in depth investigation, hence cannot be revealed in public articles and press release (Rodi-Risberg and Höglund, 2018). In this context, it is the role of the media houses to keep balancing the freedoms of expression and privacy so that human rights can be maximised as well as the personal information of the victims can be protected efficiently. the mass communication in this regard plays a crucial role in sharing the information related to rape and sexual assault and it is a sensitive topic, where the media house face difficulties to develop the right content by providing authentic data and legal evidences to avoid future unethical practice. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that; 'everyone has the right to freedom of expression, this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers' (Pruitt, 2019). Hence, public influences must be avoided while developing the content for newspaper publishes. The reporters are also concerned about protecting the rights and freedoms of others, which further refers that the name of the victims of rape or sexual assault cannot be reported by media (Tranchese, 2018). Hereby, it is the responsibility of the media houses to act carefully and protect the personal information of the victim so that there would be no such influential activities among the public in the society. The freedom of the victim is also necessary to be managed where no media houses are able to force the victims to provide interview or something related to sharing experience. Hence, human rights, freedom of the victims and protecting the personal information of the victims are the necessary ethical and legal factors, where the media houses rape bound to follow in covering such sensitive issue of rape and sexual assault in the UK.

In this regard, language also plays a crucial role in reporting such sensitive issue of rape and sexual assault, where it is mandatory for the reporters to cover the issue and provide authentic information and data on this particular issue, without disclosing any personal information about the victim. It is against the rule that the media houses cover the public opinion, as this would be influential for the public and may raise social issues (Tranchese, 2018). Hence, the language must be utilised carefully to cover the issue and share the valid information and reality rather than myths. Rape myths have also been found in several prime time television contents, perpetuating false ideas about sexual violence in the society (Bows and Westmarland, 2017). This is also considered as one of the major issue in mass communication, where some of the reporters influence the public by using rape myths. Hence, it is necessary for the media communication houses to develop legal structure of reporting such issues in the society. It is also important for the media houses to share the authentic report related to rape and sexual assault and share the real situation rather than using myths. In this regard, there is also great role of photography in print media, where the media houses portray the pictures related to the incidents as it has been the subject of thorough scientific investigations. In this case also, human rights and safety of the victims must be managed by the media house, so that any threatening or controversial pictures cannot be uploaded or printed in the new reports. The reporters also need to hide the faces of the victims in this case to maintain privacy and protect the life in long run (Garza and Franklin, 2021).

Hence, it is necessary for the print media houses to utilise the authentic data and sources for reporting such sensitive issue of rape and sexual assault in the UK. The language must be simple and there would be no such influential or controversial language or content in the newspaper which may affect the investigation of the cases. The privacy of personal information is also necessary to be managed in this case where the media houses are efficient to follow the cases and share authentic information to the public (Li, Kim and O’Boyle, 2017). The pictures must be clear and there would be no such controversial pictures on newspapers or articles. The content is also necessary to be positive where the media houses can support the public to identify the resources and seek help to mitigate such serious issue of rape and sexual assault. There are NGOs and government of the UK who are working collaboratively to mitigate such social issue (Garza and Franklin, 2021). Hence, the content and information of mass media houses are important for the cases and also for the public to get authentic data and information.

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Conclusion

The study is effective to acknowledge the ways that the media houses try to cover the sensitive issue of rape and sexual assault in the UK. It is the role of the media house to provide relevant news and valid information rather than any controversial data. They try to maintain fairness and accountability in sharing the information as well as follow the legal structure of mass communication while reporting such issues in the society. The human rights and data protection are also implemented for managing the reporting and covering the issues successfully without any controversial posts and pictures in the newspaper or the online articles.

Reference List

Barn, R. and Powers, R.A., 2021. Rape myth acceptance in contemporary times: A comparative study of university students in India and the United Kingdom. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(7-8), pp.3514-3535.

Bows, H. and Westmarland, N., 2017. Rape of older people in the United Kingdom: Challenging the ‘real-rape’stereotype. British Journal of Criminology, 57(1), pp.1-17.

Garza, A.D. and Franklin, C.A., 2021. The effect of rape myth endorsement on police response to sexual assault survivors. Violence against women, 27(3-4), pp.552-573.

Hayes, R.M. and Luther, K., 2018. # Notallmen: Media and Crime Victimization. In # Crime (pp. 123-151). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Leahy, S., 2021. 12 Regulation of media and social media comment on rape trials. Sexual Violence on Trial: Local and Comparative Perspectives, p.154.

Li, J.Y., Kim, S.H. and O’Boyle, J., 2017. “I Believe What I See”: College Students’ Use of Media, Issue Engagement, and Perceived Responsibility Regarding Campus Sexual Assault. Journal of health communication, 22(9), pp.772-782.

Pruitt, L.J., 2019. Closed due to ‘flooding’? UK media representations of refugees and migrants in 2015–2016–creating a crisis of borders. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 21(2), pp.383-402.

Rodi-Risberg, M. and Höglund, M.B., 2018. From victims to survivors: The discourse of trauma in self-narratives of sexual violence in Cosmopolitan UK online. Discourse, Context and Media, 25.

Serisier, T., 2017. Sex crimes and the media. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Tranchese, A., 2018. Covering rape: how the media determine how we understand sexualised violence. Gender and Language, 13(2), pp.174-201.

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