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Reading: Media and the Medico-legal expert

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Concept paper

Media and the Medico-legal expert

Authors:

D. Ariyarathne ,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About D.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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S. R. Hulathduwa

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About S. R.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Abstract

The rate and the diversity of crime have been increasing in Sri Lanka over the past few decades. A Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) plays a pivotal role in the criminal investigative process. JMOs also frequently involve with civil cases of public interest. The media tend to report on any matter either civil or criminal, in an elaborate and over-emphasized manner to draw the public attention. In this context, a loquacious JMO would be a much preferred target by the media. Sociologists and criminal psychologists widely discuss the short-term and long-term positive and negative impacts of crime-reporting by the media upon the society. The media, criminal investigators (including the JMO), the suspects and the society are the four corner-stones of this dialogue with their own rights, ethics and legal obligations. For example, today’s society expects to be swiftly updated with accurate and comprehensive information by different modalities of media under the principles of “public interest” and “right to know”. The media has its own rights to gather information. The JMO should thoroughly understand the obligations, rights and limitations of the media and should try his best to maintain a fine balance with the “invasion” of media so as to prevent any injustice to his own reputation and to the interests of the victim, suspect, the public as well as the criminal justice system of the country. The JMO is principally accountable to the investigative authorities or to the courts. He is not a public figure or a celebrity to be highlighted while performing his lawful duties. It is timely that the medico-legal experts in Sri Lanka create a dialogue as to how they should interact with the intrusions of the media.
How to Cite: Ariyarathne, D. & Hulathduwa, S.R., (2016). Media and the Medico-legal expert. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 4(2), pp.62–66. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v4i2.7341
Published on 27 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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