Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sting Journalism

Stop sting journalism, now! [Arvind Lavakare on Rediff]

An article looking at an important other side of sting journalism. While sting journalism certainly is great to expose scandals/frauds/corrupt officials, it has also has the potential to be used negatively in several cases. Sting journalism as I understand it cannot be used as evidence in the court of law as it is part of the scandal/fraud/corruption it is trying to expose. Certainly, the several recent operations have forced several parties and organization to take action by suspending officials and starting enquiry panels etc. All is well till, these operations are being used in the so called "positive" sense, but they are so close to misuse that they have the very real possibility of being used in other cases. As cited, in the article, the USA and a few organizations have banned sting operations or they need to be authorized.
Cannot compare this directly with the scenario in India, where corruption is punishable but escaping it is probably easier than that. Also, the government departments should be keeping an eye on these deals etc. are themeselves probably deeply involved the shady dealings. So, while the government should be accountable fot all its dealings, it probably has not done much to be transparent and open about it.
But recent developments, like passing of the RTI (Right To Information) Law are postive indications towards providing information about all government paper work to the people. Such a tool has the potential to be effectively and legally used to account for mishandlings and accountability. Hopefully, one day the officials will do there part and not get stung!

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