Media is considered as one of the four pillars of modern democracy. It plays a vital role in shaping the opinion of the society and it has the potential of changing the whole perspective of public. There has been no legal system where the media is given the power to try a case, journalist portrays a pre-decided image of an accused thereby tearing his/her reputation that can eventually affect the trial and the judgment, hence called trial by media.
Media trials are a television or newspaper coverage on a person's reputation by creating a perception of guilt or innocence before, or after, a verdict in a court of law. In high-publicity court cases (involving influencing figures), the media is often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public distress which makes a fair trial almost impossible and also regardless of the result of the actual trial the accused have to live the rest of their lives in shade due to severe public judgement.
Eagle eyes of the media have affected the personal lives of the accused. In the awake of such cases the ethics of journalism were usually questioned though no serious action is taken to stop such practices.
Representative image ; Source : Deccanchronicle
MEDIA TRIALS VERSUS FAIR TRIALS
In India, media trials have a huge significance. There have been many cases where the media had taken the case into their own hands and declared judgment against the accused, in contrast to trials in court.
More than a decade ago, while the investigation of the Aarushi-Hemraj doubles murder case  was on, media channels already passed a judgement on their own, calling out the Talwar couple as murderers. Like every coin has two sides there have been infamous cases as well where media has outraged the public and impacted the Judiciary such as the Jessica Lal murder case , where the media intervened in bringing justice to Jessica Lal due to the outrage which created a pressure on the system and the trial court held the accused guilty as charged.
Judiciary is not free from flaws. Judges and other judicial officers can be “sub-consciously influenced or manipulated” by the media trials too. Hence, its necessary to have some regulations with respect to media coverages while a trial is going on or pending in court of laws.
Freedom of speech i.e. Article 19(1)(a) plays a crucial role in formation of public opinion on current matters. Freedom of speech is the bedrock of all other liberties. Though it is severely misused in media trials.
In the cases where public figures are involved, the influence of the media can drastically change the opinion of the "fans". Like the case: Rhea Chakraborty v. State of Bihar , where media played a crucial role and the accused raised the issue of media trials.
More than a decade has passed but still the media hasn't changed its modus operandi.
Media trials can provokes the masses effectively and influence the perception of public but it also plays a vital role in building the mind-set of the present generation. Although it imparts prejudices but it also helps in bringing the criminal on the hook. Moreover, it can fuel the the mob mentality but it also assists and educate people by fearlessly bringing the truth into display.
Hence I opine that media coverage must have watchdogs or checks imposed on them to avoid biased judgements by the masses as "media trials" derails the tragedy into drama.
The famous criminal cases that would have gone unpunished without the intervention of media, like Jessica Lal case. The media however drew flak in the reporting of murder of Aarushi Talwar, that her own parents (Talwar couple) were involved in her murder. There are pros and equal cons of trail by media. Alas I'd like to quote Stan Lee - "with great powers, comes great responsibilities".
 2013 (82) ACC 303
 302 & S. 201 r/w S. 120-B
 Transfer Petition (Crl.) No.225 of 2020