media, information, the contemporary

Trials and Scandals

Sonali Chugh

February 2021- August 2022

I did my Masters degree in Law, Politics, and Society from Ambedkar University, Delhi. With a background in journalism, I am interested in exploring the intersection of media and law. During my post graduation, I worked on affective terror trials and produced a dissertation entitled “Making of a ‘terror trial’: The affected judgment and its exceptions” Pursuing my interest in Media Trials I worked at the Sarai Programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi (CSDS) as a researcher from October 2021 to December 2021 funded by the M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political’ (ICAS:MP) on the project “Media Trials and Scandal”. My project sought to look at the phenomenon of the Media Trial through four important cases Tarakeshwar case, Bawla murder case, Nanavati murder case, and the Gandhi murder trial. My reading of the first three cases explore the theme of scandal and the media trial. In my notes I have attempted to provide a sense of the media ecology around these trials and their afterlife. I have looked at popular magazines, newspapers, official documents, and novels. Following this I took up my current role as an Academic Fellow at the National Law University, Delhi.

Research Collections

This archive was built between February 2021 and August 2022 and supported by the collaboration between The Sarai Program at CSDS and ICAS: MP on thematic module 7 entitled, ‘Media and the Constitution of the Political’. This project details how truth-telling is transformed after widespread media proliferation with a focus on public commissions of inquiry into the Northeast Delhi Riots in 2020. The project seeks to understand the nature of political, humanitarian, and legal claims made in the presentation of witness speech and evidence; how to assess the temporality of the report in negotiating these often-competing claims; and what the handling of media evidence discloses about the politics of caution, care, and self-care. In detailing how investigations assemble evidence and articulate the evidentiary value of media, special attention is given to practices associated with open-source investigations, online publication and archiving, and the management of risk associated with such human rights media work. Research collections include fact-finding reports and books, documentary films, collections of film and photo documentation, news reports, web archives, and social media threads.