Friday 15 April 2016

Authenticity of a Sting Operation

In more refined terms, it can be called Investigative Journalism or Undercover Journalism. A Sting Operation is an operation designed to catch a person committing a crime by means of deception. A complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care. Sting Operation is an information-gathering exercise; it looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches, or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed or distorted.
There are times when sting operations, according to the result and consequence got divided into two types.
Positive Sting Operation: Positive Sting Operation is one which results in the interest of the society, which pierces the veils of the working of the government. It is carried out in the public interest. Due to positive sting operation society is benefited because it makes government responsible and accountable. It leads to the transparency in the government.
An operation by an online news site called Tehelka to catch top politicians and army officers taking bribes from journalists posing as businessmen.
Negative Sting Operation: negative sting operations do not benefit the society, but they do harm the society and its individuals. It unnecessarily violates the privacy of the individual without any beneficial results to the society.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 7th February, 2007, issued notices to a private news channel and its reporter for carrying out a sting operation carried out in the year 2004, which allegedly showed a non-bailable warrant could be procured against any person by paying a hefty amount in the court. 
The recent sting operations have brought a huge change in the society where people somehow are able to open their eyes on different perspectives.
India TV’s casting couch expose:
It was probably the biggest shock to the entertainment industry when India TV exposed actor Shakti Kapoor and Aman Verma allegedly involved in seeking sexual favors for struggling actors. India TV in a sting operation sent an undercover agent as struggler to the aforementioned, who were caught on tape seeking seeking sexual favor from the reporter. This sting operation even marked an emergence of India TV in mainstream media.
Cobra Post sting operation:
The online magazine Cobra Post, over a period of several months, conducted a sting operation on three big banks – HDFC, ICICI, Axis alleging how these banks are involved in channeling huge amounts of black money into the banking system as laundered white money. Employees of these banks were caught n camera offering to convert black money into white money.

Now there will be questions if sting operation should be carried on or not?
Sting operation is deemed to be legal by Delhi high court. Its legal under Article 51A (b) of the Indian constitution! But sting operations are only legal if you do it for the betterment of society and public good. In any other reason apart from this, it will be considered invasion of privacy and hence, illegal!

Sting operation is a fantastic tool not only for the media but also for a common for catching anybody red handed. It can be used for throwing light on the topics likes corruption, bribe and frauds. 

Rohit Mitra
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

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