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Corporate crime - Essay Example

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Corporate Crime. Introduction: The representation of mainstream and corporate crime in the media. Crime is one of the favourite topics of contemporary mass media because it contains all the elements of a gripping narrative: key characters who play the roles of perpetrator, victim, observer, detective, and also judge and jury if responsibility for criminal harm is identified…
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Corporate crime
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Download file to see previous pages Most media are operating in a competitive business environment, and they constantly have to balance a need for authenticity and fact with a strong pressure to provide commercially attractive copy which tempts the reader to buy newspapers or tune in to radio television and web outputs. This paper examines the way that corporate harm is reported in the media, and asks who decides which stories are worth reporting, who provides the information which forms the basis of that reporting, and what effect the media have on public perceptions of corporate crimes. Media “framing”: who decides which crimes are reported in the media? It is generally recognised that although violent crime is relatively rare compared to other kinds of crime, it nevertheless dominates the media. A recent Australian study demonstrated that the general public has a tendency to overestimate the incidence of violence and underestimate other kinds (Indermaur and Roberts: 2005, p. 143) This observation was found to be the result partly of individual experience of crime, in high crime areas at least, but also to do with the way that people utilize different kinds of media sources. Local news, for example, is a source of information for most working class people, while more educated people tend to read highbrow newspapers or internet news for their information on crime. It seems that people choose to view media which echo their own views of crime, and this creates a growing tendency to focus on sensationalism and crime, rather than a more balanced and accurate range of offences. Similar results were found in an earlier American study of police, newspaper, television and public images of crime trends for the seven FBI index crimes in the United concludes that people are increasingly dependent on television, rather than newspapers, and that the condensed timescale of television news bulletins results in distortion: “Hence, there is an emphasis on soft (scheduled) news – the human interest story – rather than on hard news – crime events … Therefore, there is a focus on homicides, fires and accidents.” (Sheley and Ashkins: 2009, p. 494) Corporate crime is rarely reported in local television and newspaper media, and it is likely that these media lack the resources to pursue major investigations, and these crimes are in any case deemed to be less newsworthy in culture that is seeking attention-grabbing drama rather than sober analysis. Some British analysis goes further than this and claims that there is an orchestrated effort going on to make sure that individuals who commit violent crime are more often reported than companies and their managers who commit white collar crime including all sorts of quite serious failings which can even result in death and injury to many people. Tombs and Whyte (2007: p. observe that corporate safety crimes are largely “invisible”, partly because they are not widely reported, but partly also because governments and commentators so often redefine corporate safety crimes as “infringements” and many statistics do not formally record the deaths and injuries that occur in an occupational context as crimes. The vocabulary used to comment on this area of criminal activity reveals a downplaying of responsibility and a reference instead to “accidents”, which implies that no-one is to blame: “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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