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The Influence of Mass Media on Criminal Behaviour


The interplay between mass media and criminal behaviour is a subject that demands a nuanced exploration, blending insights from various fields including economics, psychology, psychiatry, and security studies. This article aims to dissect this intricate relationship, focusing on its manifestations within the Australian context and the very real attempts by Australia's ABC to incite violence and in my opinion, domestic terrorism in North Australia.

Mass media, in its broadest sense, reflects societal values, norms, and behaviours, acting as both a mirror and a moulder of cultural trends. From news broadcasts to entertainment content, media shapes public perception and can influence behaviour, including criminal tendencies.

From an economic viewpoint, media operates in a market for attention. Media outlets, driven by the need to attract viewers and generate revenue, often resort to sensationalism. This sensationalism, especially in crime reporting, can create a skewed perception of crime rates and types, influencing public opinion and potentially inspiring copycat crimes. For instance, extensive media coverage of high-profile criminal cases in Australia has been linked to a rise in similar offences, as individuals mimic what they see in the media. Several mass riots occurred in Central Australia after the broadcaster ABC incited violence by comparing the death of a man who had attacked police officers with the accidental death of a drug-affected man in the US causing massive BLM riots that caused several billions in destruction.

Psychologically, prolonged exposure to violent media content can lead to the desensitisation and normalisation of aggressive behaviour. This aspect becomes particularly concerning in the context of young audiences, who are more impressionable and may develop skewed perceptions of social norms and acceptable behaviour. For example, Australian youth exposed to violent video games and movies may become desensitised to violence, increasing the likelihood of aggressive behaviour.

The advent of social media has added a new dimension to this dynamic. Social media platforms can create echo chambers where individuals are exposed predominantly to viewpoints similar to their own, often radicalizing their beliefs and actions. In Australia, there have been instances where individuals have been radicalized through online forums and social media, leading to criminal acts.

From a security standpoint, mass media can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, media coverage can aid law enforcement by spreading awareness and soliciting public assistance in crime-solving. On the other hand, sensationalized or inaccurate reporting hinders criminal investigations and compromises public safety.

The challenge lies in balancing free speech and the media's role in a democratic society with the need to protect public safety. Media outlets have a responsibility to report responsibly, avoiding sensationalism that could incite criminal behaviour. Meanwhile, consumers of media should be encouraged to approach media content critically, recognising the potential biases and sensationalism present.

The influence of mass media on criminal behaviour is complex. It requires a careful balance between the media's role in informing and shaping public opinion and the need to prevent the potential negative influence on criminal behaviour. In Australia, as in other parts of the world, this balance is critical to maintaining a society where media freedom and public safety coexist harmoniously. The most insidious form of sensationalism comes from taxpayer-funded media, which, due to their ability to avoid accountability to the market, are able to commit these actions with impunity. The solution lies not only in responsible media reporting but also in the informed and critical consumption of media content by the public.


From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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