Is Sting Operation an Invention or Privacy ?

Sting Operation is a deceptive operation that is used to catch a person who committed the crime. It is one of the complicated game planned which requires complete confidence and execution with the full of care. Basically, It is a way of gathering evidence of the suspect’s wrongdoing activities. Sting operations are allowed in some countries like the USA, India as a legal activity but some countries like Sweden do not allow such operations. Sting means to set a trap to catch the crook, It is also known as undercover Journalism.

It is an information-gathering exercise that looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed, or distorted, at the moment there is a need for such operations to overcome issues as soon as possible. Voting the leaders through the voting process enhances the accountability of the elected leaders but such type of undercover Journalism made them responsible too.

The word Sting basically derived from America which means a police design undercover operation to catch the alleged. The synonym of Sting to set up a trap to catch the crooks. In sting operations, there are lots of controversies over there regarding ethical and journal points of view. On the other hand, it proves itself as undercover or investigative journalism by exploring many incidents related to corruption and misdeeds of the politicians and other government officials. Both of them have their own enough reasons to prove themselves as a right.

Thing is that every activity have their own positive and negative points, we must take care that negativity should not be dominated over the positive points. Some of its negative points raise the question of freedom of personal life also. It start drawing a blur line between ethics and laws and raise many questions like. Can Journalism hide their real Identity to gather information ? Can television camera use hidden camera to get the story ? the main critical question is that to what extent media can go and to what extent a person should informed ?

On the basis of purpose Sting can be divided into two part first one is positive and other one is negative sting operations. Positive Sting operations are those which are in the interest of the society, due to it society will be benefited. It leads to make our government responsible as well as accountable. It brings transparency in the governance. On the other hand, negative sting operations are harmful to our society and individuals, which misleads the public about Sting Operations. Thing is that people paint all the sting operations with one brush and started talking about its negativities.

If we analyze the whole scenario related to its positivity and negativity and then we will find that positive things are dominated over negative things. We should find the solution to stop the negative sting operations instead of banning Sting Operations. I am saying so because suppose if the train got accident due to a couple of reasons, then it does not mean that we stop traveling with trains. we should assess all the story and try to find out the solutions so that we can minimize the accidents.

As we know that Media play an important role in the democratic society in making all the three pillars so called legislative, Judiciary as a responsible body. some of the government official pocketed bribes from the victim to proceed their work. One of the example of positive Sting operation is on ultrasound carried out by heath officers in Karnataka for Serious enforcement of the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique Act which bans the sex determination of baby birth. An operation by an online news sites Tehelka to catch top politicians and army officers taking bribes from journalists posting as businessman are another positive example of Sting operation.

Positive sting operations saves our rights too in a better manner. It makes the other institutions active and responsible also to hold their jobs in a good way. Freedom of press in India has been derived from freedom of speech and expression. Media has a right to impart information to the public in a fair manner, thus playing an important role in a democratic society. Journalism will always be in public interest and sting operation for exposing corruption serve public interest.

There are some negative sting operations are also in our countries like, in 2007 The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Delhi government and city police after taking of media reports alleging that a sting operation carried out by a TV channel, which claimed to have exposed a sex racket run by a government school teacher, for allegedly luring her pupils into prostitution has now been revealed to be completely fabricated and was fake and distorted. Sting Operations have also been criticized due to such problems because of the exaggerated television journalism in order to increase the TRPs.

A sting operation may be an expression of right under freedom of speech and expression but it also comes with a duty to respect the privacy of others. The 200th Law Commission Report has made recommendations with regard to enacting a law to prevent the media from interfering with the privacy of individuals, which is recognized under right to life and personal liberty. The press has the freedom to express, But now a day the press is using excess of freedom and violating all its restrictions, and is harming the rights of others which is not good for our society and nation also.

If we are interested to know about the challenges of Sting Operations then we would be found that ethical and legal concerns are the one of the biggest challenge of it. Law enforcement may have to be careful not to provoke the commission of crime by someone who would not otherwise have done so. Sting operations are always fraught with ethical concerns everywhere over whether they constitute entrapment. The essence of all entrapment is that you promise a man a reward for breaking the law and then, apprehend him when he takes the bait which is not fair at all.

Another major challenge in which we face today is against whom the sting operation is allowed ? Some are of the opinion that it must be allowed against the public servants. The definition of “Public Servant” is given in 2(c) of The Prevention of Corruption Act. Again a problem comes that can we have sting operation against the public servants when they are not in their course of duty ? There are so many problems which arise because we do not have proper legislation. In the process of Sting operations political arena are also dominated which is also a biggest challenge before its mechanism.

As I think The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry must favour the introduction of a clause to address “Sting Operations” in the Broadcasting Bill. The Ministry must make a clear distinction between stories that amount to an “invasion of privacy” and those which expose corruption or have political implications. However, “Sting Operations” which expose corruption and tell stories with political implications will be allowed, as any attempt to proceed against them would be seen as an effort to stifle the media. What journalists and editors need to determine is who will benefit as a result of the reporting.

If journalism is committed to democratic accountability, then the question that needs to be asked is whether the public benefits as a result of specific investigative reports. Does the press fulfill its social responsibility in revealing wrongdoing ? Whose interests are being affected ? Whose rights are being invaded? Is the issue at stake a matter of legitimate public interest ? What the regulatory body will need to determine is who will benefit as a result of the reporting. Is the issue at stake a matter of legitimate public interest ? These are some questions which need to be answered when going for a sting operation or going for making legislation on it.

If we look the scenario of other countries also as well our country we come to the conclusion that the legislation must govern the conduct of the media and must define the extent media can sting a person’s life and whom they can sting? In the US for example, it is only the federal government and the FBI alone has the right to use a hidden camera and go for sting operation. In India too somebody like CBI or any other body must only be legalized to perform sting and their conduct must be regulated through the legislations. This body must not be immune to any legal proceedings.

There must be a proper authority like court or Attorney General, whose permission must be sought on proper proof against the subject of the sting. To avoid falling into that trap, the sting operations need a code of conduct. Laws too, should be strengthened in this regard. Sting operations are completely justified if they are carried out with the protocol that has been talked about. A line has to be drawn between sting operations that invade privacy and those which exposes corruption and like others in order to protect rights of the citizen and very essence of the constitution of India. I am saying once again that If train got accident then it does not mean that we stop travelling the train.

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