Open access



Publication language: English

Journal article

Transformations No. 4 (119) 2023 Publication date: 29 December 2023

Article No. 20231229223359996

Keywords: crime, media, public perception of crime, penal populism, politicization of law

Abstract There have been many publications on the subject of the portrayal of crime in the media, both Polish and foreign, and it is not the author's purpose to cite and re-describe the conclusions of these studies and researches, but only to revise certain selected previous theories and empirical research in connection with the current situation in the media space and the general political, social and cultural situation. The links between crime and the media are undeniable, since it is primarily the media that plays the role of “social informant” on crime. Crime, in the “distorting mirror” of the media (as I call it), is undoubtedly presented in a distorted way, with some crimes clearly “over-represented” (e.g., murder or rape) while others, in turn, are “under-represented” (theft, violence, and criminal acts of minors). The causes of this distortion in the messages regarding crime can be aetiologically traced to various sources. In my opinion, there are currently at least four major causes: the increasing development of mobile information technologies and the associated, almost caricatured, “deformation of information sources”, growing penal populism, the politicization of the law, the lack of substantive qualifications of “informants” and the increasingly less than professional communication between legal and criminology experts and journalists.

  1. Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

    ORCID: 0000-0002-0414-7355

    E-mail: wiktorska.p@gmail.com